Out of state athletes take advantage of local ice rink
Regulations regarding COVID-19 have varied quite a bit, even for neighboring states.
As we know in South Dakota, regulations have been lifted and now, some athletes are taking advantage.
For skaters and hockey players, the offseason is a time for kids to get as much ice time as possible.
But, COVID restrictions have made that difficult for out of state players and that’s why they’re turning to a local ice rink.
The Scheels IcePlex said they’ve been following state & city guidance since the start of the pandemic.
General manager Brian Prisbe said, “So we’ve just kind of expanded with basically the rules that Governor Noem and Mayor TenHaken have asked businesses to do. This weekend we’re kind of hosting our first real tournament where there are teams coming from North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota to play some youth hockey here.”
With regulations lifted in Sioux Falls, athletes in neighboring states with more strict regulations are turning to this rink for ice time.
“They’re clever. They’ve called me. A lot of people in Minnesota have called me. We’ve sold quite a bit of ice to the people in Minnesota and we’ve gained some new business because of it too. A lot of them stayed over at the hotel next door here. So, it has brought some pretty good revenue into our community by the rules we’ve been following here in the state,” said Prisbe.
The IcePlex has seen an immediate bump, even in their quietest month.
“May is our slowest of the 12 months but, this past May was our busiest May since we’ve been open since 2014,” he said.
In addition to the economic benefits, it’s also putting a spotlight on South Dakota ice sports.
“Continuing to put ice sports on the map here in South Dakota. We’ve done a pretty good job of that as a whole in the ice sports business with the Stampede winning and Aberdeen winning, you know, some good hockey here and the figuring skating club and curling. So, it’s continuing to grow,” said Prisbe.
They are continuing efforts to keep athletes and visitors safe. They’ve even added new jobs strictly focused on sanitation.
“Constantly wiping down door handles, locker rooms, bathrooms, you know, touchpoint areas. It’s not really something we thought about before but, because of what’s happened we’ve had to create some new positions, which is a good opportunity to create some jobs for people too,” said Prisbe.
Though the IcePlex is looking forward to a busy summer, they’re still focused on implementing those safety measures.