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Growing Need for Ice Rinks in Fargo-Moorhead - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Growing Need for Ice Rinks in Fargo-Moorhead

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The demand for youth hockey is growing in Fargo, but some in the area say the ice isn't growing with it. Some athletes are practicing as late as ten and 11:00 at night and say it's only going to get worse if more rinks aren't built soon.

At 9:00 on a Tuesday night the puck drops at practice, for the very first time it's a practice that will turn into long hours for this group of teenagers at Scheels Arena but it's the late hours that are making parents all around town upset

"It gets to late"

Another late practice at the Fargo South arena is where we met up with parents. "There's not enough ice." And it seems these late hours aren't stopping anytime soon. "We've seen a growing interest."

A dramatic increase of players over the past couple of years, has the organization increasing their schedules and adding longer days to accommodate everyone.

"Kids are playing until 10:00 p.m. It's 11:30 sometimes when these kids are getting to bed."

If the interest in hockey continues, the situation here will just get worse.

"Ice capacity is going to be at a shortage. If we don't build ice rinks soon, kids will practice until 10:30- 11:30 just to get in a practice."

Just how bad will it get? We decided to break the numbers for you:

In the past year alone, the organization has seen in increase of about 200 players which equals about 28 percent. It's projected that by 2016, those numbers will increase from 1,000 athletes to about 1,300, which is an increase of about 53 percent.

Reporter: "Are there any plans in place to build now?"

"No there's not yet."

According to the Fargo Park District, they have not yet seen the numbers needed to convince them to build more rinks.

Reporter: "Does Fargo need more rinks?"

"We have to see the numbers so I can't say definitely."

Reporter: "How much later will these kids have to practice, they are practicing at 10:00 to 11:00 right now? Do you see that as problem?

"Um, ummm, I'd like to see the older kids practice later and maybe take advantage of the early morning hours."

For parents and athletes, adding hours to the schedule won't solve the problem.

"It's difficult for these kids to accommodate later hours and we'll see higher attrition rates if we force kids to place later at night."

They believe there is just one icy solution: More ice. It can take about two years to build an ice rink and that's why Fargo Youth Hockey is begging the district to build now.

It takes a couple million dollars to get that new facility, so the district says they will review the numbers and ultimately decide who will pay for a rink and when they will build one. Fargo Youth Hockey just hopes time wont run out.

In West Fargo, they have increased player numbers and are holding a raffle to help raise money for new rinks.  In Sioux Falls, South Dakota they say the demand has grown, but will be opening a brand new facility next year. In Duluth, they are practicing as late as 10:00 at night, but don't see the ice problem getting any worse.

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