Showing off their moves, figure skaters take a bow ibefore cheering fans at the Kevin Bell Arena in December. From left: Madilyn Illg, Cara Clemens, Sylvia Clemens, Thea James, Tianah Cavanaugh, Rhonda Velsko, Sabre Wilmeth, Keagan Niebuhr, Natalia Sherwood, Natalie Farren, Courtney Galloway, Evelyn Sherwood, coach Natalie Betley, Mia Hemphill, assistant coach Priscilla Andrade.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Great season for the rink, support needed for future

The Kevin Bell Arena is ending the season this weekend with a bash, including the Annual Ash Cup Tournament Friday thru Sunday with participants from Anchorage and the Peninsula, a team from one of the nearby Russian communities and a couple of local teams. Also, Kevin Bell Day is Sunday with fun activities for different groups and the public to attend. This will include an hour dedicated to curling.

The success of the Homer Hockey Association this season has been very deep with the Pee Wee, 12 years old and younger, and Squirts, 10 years old and younger, teams winning state championships. The Diva women sent three teams with 40 players this past weekend to the Fools on Ice Tournament in Anchorage, with two of the teams making it to the championship game in their divisions. HHA hosted the Bantam State Championship, 14 years old and younger, with 10 Alaska teams participating and also high school Regionals. The Mite Roundup, 8 years old and younger, also was held in Homer, with teams from Anchorage and the peninsula in attendance.

With the success of the season there is fear for the future. It could be the end of the road for the rink if additional funding is not secured by September 2015. In order to stay afloat on the Homer Spit, the rink needs $2.4 million to purchase the existing building. Currently, it is operating on a deal set up at its inception, paying interest only on the building loan. That will end in September 2015, and the monthly payments will increase two fold, making
programs too expensive for most to participate. 

The rink is one of four in the nation operated as a private nonprofit organization and has been run by a dedicated volunteer board of directors since 2005. It is estimated that 14,000 volunteer hours were put in during the 2013-2014 season by the board, the volunteer coaches and managers, and help from families of hockey players, figure skaters and our ice-loving community here in Homer. There are 800 people per week who attend the programs at the rink. The rink has an annual budget of $2.3 million and has continued to operate in the black. Revenue has grown with the addition of programs besides hockey, including figure skating and broomball. Also, donations from many businesses in Homer and on the peninsula keep our programs and the rink up and running.

Because of HHA’s financial situation, the HHA Financial Task Force was formed and is moving forward with a campaign to secure financial future. In March, the Homer City Council passed a resolution supporting efforts. HHA be trying to get the support of the Kenai Peninsula Borough next. The possible support from both of these governing bodies will be helpful when approaching potential funding sources in the state and federal government.

HHA would like the Homer community to support the efforts to secure future funding for the ice rink. Keeping the rink open is important to the health of the Homer community, for both children and adults. It provides fall and winter commerce to the city of Homer, which is critical throughout the business community.

For more information about the rink or to help, contact Jan Rumble at seakrumble@gci.net.

Jan Rumble is the Homer Hockey Association secretary.


Kevin Bell Day Sunday, April 13

Kevin Bell Arena

All events are free

1-7 p.m. 

Street hockey, bring your sticks and balls

1-2:15 p.m. 

Public skate/WeSkate

2:30-3 p.m. 

Cross Ice Hockey MicroBells/Mites

3-3:45 p.m. 

Cross Ice Hockey Squirts

4-4:45 p.m. 

Cross Ice Hockey Pee Wees

4:30-6:30 p.m.
Homer Hockey Association Barbecue, food and beverages

5-5:45 p.m. 

Cross Ice Hockey Bantams/High School

6-6:45 p.m. 

Cross Ice Hockey
Adult Co-Ed

7-7:45 p.m. 

Broomball Adult Co-Ed

8-9 p.m. 

Curling Adult Co-Ed

 

Interested in curling? 

Show up at 8 p.m. to throw some stones. If there’s enough interest, HHA may start a curling club. Spread the world.

For more information,
call Ted 399-7339


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