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“Involved Citizen’s Enterprises,” also known as “I.C.E.” is a non-profit volunteer community organization committed to providing affordable and accessible ice skating programs for Grand Traverse area residents. I.C.E. is the umbrella organization — similar to a sports booster program — for the major arena “user groups” who offer skating lessons and activities.
These groups include: Twin Bays Skating Club, Grand Traverse Hockey Association, T.C. Central & West & Bay Area Reps High School Hockey Teams, NAHL Jr A North Stars, Men and Women Adult Hockey Leagues and Public Skate Programs.
I.C.E. was formed in the summer of 1982 following the closing of the privately owned Glacier Dome ice rink, which had served local skaters from 1974 to spring 1982. The Glacier Dome’s closing left local skaters with no available facilities within at least 100 miles to pursue their sport. I.C.E. and its volunteer user groups, in collaboration with Grand Traverse County, tried to maintain public skating, hockey and figure skating programs in temporary facilities, such as the “bubble rinks,” until a permanent facility could be achieved.
I.C.E. planned to disband in 1989, after the construction and opening of Howe Arena. However, Grand Traverse County officials asked I.C.E. to continue to function as the umbrella organization overseeing skating programs and rink management. I.C.E. currently operates the arena six months per year, assuming complete responsibility for building and operational costs.
Highlights in I.C.E.’s history follow and illustrate its commitment to community recreation and collaboration with Grand Traverse County and the community:
1982 - Spring: Privately owned Glacier Dome closes.
1982 - Summer: I.C.E. forms following meetings of interested citizens, skaters and parents committed to retaining adult and youth skating programs in the Traverse City area
1982 - Fall: I.C.E. borrows $40,000.00 from Grand Traverse County to purchase and erect “Bubble Rink.” (Loan was retired in 1987)
1983 - Spring: I.C.E. opens “Bubble Rink” at the Civic Center, reduced skating resumes.
1984-89: I.C.E. User Groups providing skating programs in the Bubble; participation levels drop dramatically from Glacier Dome programming. Volunteer members pursue options to raise funds toward a permanent community ice facility.
1987: Bubble rink collapses and is destroyed by major windstorm. A second used Bubble rink is obtained.
1987-88: I.C.E. assumes leadership in rink fundraising; raises $300,000.00 through user assessments, fundraising events and grants toward new rink construction; accepts responsibility for funding 50 percent of $1.2 million Howe Arena.
1989: Howe Arena opens; 250 GTHA, 100 TBSC and 80 Adult League Skaters.
1993: User membership doubles, exceeds capacity, 497/GTHA, 210/TBSC, 220 Adults May 1993: I.C.E. requests consideration for second rink; requests consideration from Grand Traverse County, offers fundraising and financial support. User groups report the closing of registrations, limiting participation due to lack of ice time.
1994: M.C. Smith studies regional recreational needs through 2010. Cites need for additional ice facilities. Recommends new rink to be located at Civic Center.
1995: All User Groups exceed member capacity; rink in operation 15-18 hours daily. Grand Traverse County approves master plan, rink location and funding.
1995 - September: Request for bond financing by I.C.E. for arena construction defeated in a public referendum which dictated 110 future building at Civic Center.
1995 - December: I.C.E. receives donation of 13 acres in East Bay Township from Traverse City businessmen Marty Lagina and Craig Tester.
1996 - Spring: East Bay Township consideration and approval of P.U.D.; site plan and utilization for proposed East Bay I.C.E. Arena.
1996 - August: Groundbreaking for East Bay I.C.E. Arena; completion for April 1997.
1997 - April: Centre I.C.E. opens David’s Rink-April 7, Republic Rink- June,
1997 - Sept: Centre I.C.E. Hosts First Red Wing Camp.
2001 - Sept: Jr. A Enforcers begin play.
2004 - March: Howe Arena debt retired.
2004 - May: 500+/GTHA, 300+/TBSC, 500+/Adult League Skaters
2004 September: Jr. A Enforcers Disband
2005 Summer: Locker rooms 17 & 18 added
2005 September: NAHL Jr. A North Stars debut
2005 September: New ticket office, suite and press box built