Growing hockey program gives community a chance to reassess recreation needs

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 12:02 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Youth hockey in Bismarck attracts over 700 kids and the high school hockey program has about 120 players. There are four sheets of indoor ice to share between hockey players, figure skaters, and the rest of the community.

“Our ice rinks are very busy, the busiest time is during the high school season because all our teams are going at that time,” said Randy Bina, Bismarck Parks and Recreation executive director.

Bina added that, “We’ve had people skating at 6 a.m., and that might not be the best situation, but these facilities are very costly, and I’d say it is very common.”

Legacy High School is looking to add a hockey program which may make finding ice time more difficult. But coaches for the existing high school teams believe that it will work.

“Hockey people as a whole like to see the growth of the sport and so I think everyone would deal with the growing pains,” said Century High School Hockey Head Coach Troy Olson.

Currently, Legacy students play hockey for other high schools and coaches hope new teams will be added with minimal impact to their current teams.

“Kids like to play for their own school, and the numbers are coming up in that district, and I think when the time is right and the numbers are sustainable that they should have a team just because it creates more opportunities for players,” Olson added.

Coaches said growth is a good thing, but another sheet of ice would be nice.

“[Coaches and kids] want to be a part of programs that have vast numbers and availability to skate and do those things,” said Bismarck High School Hockey Head Coach Wesley Carr.

Officials will readdress when to add the Legacy hockey team at the next Bismarck Public School Board meeting on April 12.

Last year a Bismarck Parks and Recreation facility that included an extra sheet of ice was turned down by voters.

Now, a survey about Bismarck’s recreation needs is out to the public. Call the Bismarck Parks and Recreation Department at 701-222-6455 for information on how to participate in the survey.

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