WILLISTON, N.D. - A 145,000 square foot hockey facility at the Sloulin Field International Airport, once it is decommissioned in October, will be a major game changer when it comes to economic growth for Williston, according to Power Play Project board members.
The proposal includes three rinks that will collectively seat more than 2,400 people.
Board members says the facility will be used for skating 10 months out of the year, and can host volleyball and basketball games, trade shows, and concerts when the rink is not being used for skating.
The rink will also allow more hockey tournaments with 16 teams, each having 15 to 20 players, to be hosted in Williston, which they say will bring in a lot of revenue for local businesses.
Power Play Project estimates show by 2023, Williston businesses could see $792,000 a year spent by visitors coming to town for hockey games and tournaments. Official study results are expected in two weeks that will more accurately estimate the financial effects a new facility will have on the area.
"It would be a pretty significant economic impact to the city when they come and stay for the weekend and eat out, and go shopping," said Josh Kringen, Power Play Project board member.
Kringen says there are more than 300 hockey players in Williston this year, not including the college team, and that number is expected to keep climbing.
Some Williston hockey teams currently practice as early as 6 in the morning, and as late as 9 in the evening because the demand for ice-time is so high.
"Right now, Williston is pretty much the only city in the state that doesn't have a hockey facility with at least two sheets under one roof. So, not having that type of facility here really limits us.”
Board Members say they are expecting hockey program members to go up even more when the facility is built, because similar North Dakota cities' numbers have doubled after building new rinks similar to this one.
They say construction could begin as soon as this year. They are in the fundraising stage right now, because the facility building costs will be covered completely by donations and sponsors.
If you are interested in being a sponsor or donating, you can email PowerplayND@gmail.com.