HOUGHTON - Copper Country ice skaters, the wait is almost over.
The area has been without an ice sheet since April 23 due to ice plant construction at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena, but the boards and glass are going in this week atop the new concrete surface, flooding is tentatively slated for July 30 and Michigan Tech is prepping for an August packed with skating camps.
"We're very pleased so far on everything and we're excited to be getting the ice back in," said Tech Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Operations Dave Nordstrom. "A lot of people have been driving to Marquette to skate, and those people are anxious to get skating again locally."
Workers began installing the boards at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena Tuesday, and the glass for the rink is slated to go up today. The rink is expected to be flooded on July 30, with the first ice rental tentatively scheduled for Aug. 4, which would end a 103-day stretch of having no ice sheet available in the Copper Country. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
Concrete was poured over nearly 13 miles of piping on June 12, it cured until July 4, when the plastic on top of it was removed, and now a month after the pour, the rink is finally starting to take shape.
"They're installing the boards (which will be the same boards, with new kickplates) ... and right now we tentatively plan to start flooding probably on the 30th of July," Nordstrom said. "Our first rental will be on Aug. 4 if everything goes well."
To rent the MacInnes between 6:30 a.m. and 1 a.m., call 487-2578. To watch construction progress via webcam, visit mtu.edu/webcams.
Tech's sports and recreation department staff is also preparing for a condensed month of skating camps during the month of August.
Tech will host its 40th annual summer figure skating school Aug. 5-10; Hockey Development Center camps for Mites, Squirts and Pee Wees Aug. 12-17; and its second annual learn-to-skate summer camp Aug. 20-24.
"We're excited here. The arena is moving forward and this is a great opportunity for our local kids to really take advantage of the quality of instruction we have," Recreational Programs Manager Jada Gullstrand said.
The figure skating camp is for beginners through advanced skaters of any age, and the commuter-only camp includes daily sessions in the morning and evening, with private lessons available with qualified local and guest coaches. In conjunction with the camp, the Copper Country Skating Academy will sponsor its annual test session on Aug. 11.
Schedule conflicts with the residence halls will make this year's hockey camps commuter-only as well, but they will include meals in the dorm dining halls.
The camps include on- and off-ice skill sessions, lectures and film sessions and an end-of-the-week game and player evaluations for players at each of the three levels, Mites, Squirts and Pee Wees. Hockey camps are limited to 40 players and four goalies at each level.
"It's a great instructional opportunity to kids from across the country," Gullstrand said. "Goalie spots are full, but we're definitely still taking players for other positions."
The learn-to-skate camp is for beginning-level boys and girls ages 5 to 11, and this year's theme will be "Magic Kingdom on Ice." The camp, which is limited to 30 participants, will include on-ice lessons, games, practicing a routine and an end-of-the-week group recital.
For more information about each camp and to register (registration open through two weeks before each camp), visit mtu.edu/ sportscamps, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 906-487-2975.