USA Hockey Magazine

April / May 2019

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O F F THE D R AW N atalie Spiess is on a mission. As the events coordinator for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and a member of its recreation asso- ciation, the long-time Wisconsin resident is leading the charge to save one of the town's most iconic and import- ant buildings. The Eagle River Dome ice arena has been home to generations of local hockey players, including former NHLer Craig Ludwig and Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej, a member of the 2010 U.S. Women's Olympic Team. When construction started on the rink in 1925, many thought it would stand the test of time. But the 85-year-old structure is showing its age and is in desperate need of a new ice plant, which will cost $1.5 million to replace. In addition, the unique honeycomb-pat- terned roof also needs to be repaired, and time is running short to raise the necessary funds before the start of next season. According to Spiess, the task of ripping out the concrete floor and replacing the system that makes the ice needs to be completed this summer. With time running out, she is spearheading a campaign to raise money and awareness, and used the 2019 Labatt Blue USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships to help get the word out. Spiess made the rounds o n D o l l a r L a k e o v e r t h e c o u r s e o f t h e w e e k e n d t a l k i n g t o p o n d h o c k e y players about the Save The Dome project. A G o Fu n d Me p a g e h a s been created to help with the efforts, and the town threw its hat into the Kraft Hockeyville contest, where they finished second and earned the $30,000 run- ner-up prize. I n add it ion , her g r oup s old t- sh i r t s at a ga me bet ween t he Eag le R iver Fa lcon s a nd Ma rquet te Muti neers to f u r t her t he cause. The game is part of the Great La kes Hockey L eag ue t h at t r ad it ion a l ly d r aw s sold out crowds of pond hockey players who pack the rafters for a night of full-contact men's hockey. "There is so much heritage and history in this building," said Spiess, who is also run- ning for mayor in the town of 1,500. "So many people have played here, not only people from Eagle River but from all around the state. It's a part of who we are and we need to preserve it for future generations." A little-known fact about the town and the rink is that Jimmy Hoffa, the infamous union leader whose myste- rious disappearance in 1975 fueled rumors regarding his final resting place, was a fre- quent visitor to Eagle River and had ties to the community. Spiess said there has been talk that he may in fact be buried under the concrete slab inside the rink. So, when work begins on replacing the floor, construction crews may be in for quite a surprise. P Eagle River Residents Band Together To Save Their Beloved Rink 3 U S A H O C K E Y N E W S , P E O P L E & P R O G R A M S Dome, Sweet Dome COMMUNITY "So many people have played here, not only people from Eagle River but from all around the state...we need to preserve it for future generations." by HARRY THOMPSON PHOTOS BY Kitty Sookochoff 4 // APRIL/MAY 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM

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