Youth Hockey Players Could Have Been Left Without Weekend Home

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It appears a solution has been reached to a problem that could have left thousands of youth hockey players from Fargo to Winnipeg, without one of their weekend hockey homes.
However, City leaders are still figuring out how to fix a financial deficit at the Crookston Sports Arena. But, nearly year round youth hockey tournaments will continue as planned.
Despite bringing in 8,000 youth hockey players and their parents every year for tournaments, the Crookston Sports Arena, like arenas across the Valley, loses money every year.
In fact, it loses around half a million dollars every year. The City recently asked the Blue Line Club, the private organization, which sponsors youth hockey here, to start paying $5,000 a week, rather than their current rate of $4,000.
Reporter: “You can’t do it financially?”
Valerie Rauner, Blue Line Club: “No. There’s no way we can. We do a lot of fund raising already.”
Blue Line leaders said they couldn’t afford it and would have to shut down 4 months of tournament hockey in the spring, summer and fall.
However, the Blue Line Club has now reached an agreement with the City that will increase their cost by only $200… to 42-hundred dollars a week. It’s all left the City trying to figure out ways to generate more money at the Sports Center.
Shannon Stassen, City Administrator: “We’ve tried to increase usage of walking track memberships, golf simulator and a number of other things we have available, ice rentals… to increase revenue.”
And while the Sports Center continues to lose money, subsidized by Crookston taxpayers, just about everyone agrees it is bringing in more money to local hotels, restaurants and stores.
Brad Epema, Blue Line Club: “The Convention and Visitors Bureau has been breaking records monthly. I believe a lot of it has to do with this building and what Blue Line is doing to get people in town.”
So for now, as the City tries to get more money out of walkers and other events, the Sports Center here will remain one of many homes to youth hockey players across the region.
In an effort to raise more money, the Crookston Sports Arena will try its hand at hosting a fairly large concert event in May. The group “Hairball” a tribute band to superstar rockn’ rollers will perform.