As one of only four ice arenas in the Commonwealth, and the only one that is publically owned, Edge Ice Center is a true asset to the Owensboro area.
Visitors are impressed with the $6.5 million facility, and upon entering the front doors are greeted with a friendly staff and a fun atmosphere. At more than 42,000-square-feet, the arena was built to accommodate a growing population of recreational and competitive ice skaters and hockey players.
“We have the nicest facility in the state, if not the Tri-state,” said Kerry Bodenheimer, Owensboro Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
The large facility holds three rooms available for birthday parties or public rental, a spacious lobby for daily guests, five locker rooms, and spectator seating for 300 people.
An indoor ice arena was not new to Owensboro. In fact, the original Owensboro Ice Arena was built in 1963, but “she aged” after years of operation, said Bodenheimer. Opened in September 2009, the Edge Ice Center just celebrated its 5th birthday.
When the doors opened in 2009, nearly 2,500 people came to the first three weeks of public skating. Perhaps the best birthday present for Edge and Bodenheimer this year is the continuous support that the arena sees each year. More than 25,000 people visited Edge last year for public skating, group and private events, and free-pass use.
The previous Owensboro Ice Arena was not open year-round, something that Bodenheimer believes sets apart this new facility. She has seen a growth in public participation through activities like summer day camps and Learn to Skate classes, opening up ice skating to new audiences each day.
The arena’s 200-by-85-foot rink is the regulation size of the National Hockey League. This, combined with the new facility and spectator area, has broadened the utilization of the ice arena. Competitors like the Owensboro Youth Hockey Association and Owensboro Figure Skating Club are now regular fixtures at Edge, bringing a new world of competition to Owensboro.
The Owensboro Youth Hockey Association houses nine divisions, including the Rampage High School Hockey team, who was named State Champion in 2011-2012, and the Owensboro Puckhogs Pee Wee Team, who was runner-up at the International Silver Stick competition in Canada. Over 200 hockey players make up the local league, something that was not possible before the establishment of Edge. High school competitions, travel teams and state tournaments are all now held at Edge, boosting the local economy through sporting tourism.
“The old rink just wasn’t up to standards,” said Clint Rowell, President of Owensboro Youth Hockey Association. “It was always going to close, so [Edge] has really given us stability.”
Similarly, the Owensboro Figure Skating Club is now able to hold competitions at Edge, bringing 150 competitive skaters to Owensboro last year. January will mark the fourth annual competition for the club, which, in the past, has brought in competitors from Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio for over two days.
“It’s just a nicer facility, which is a big draw for people out of town,” said Cindy Bowman, mother and a coordinator of the skating club. “Edge is a top-notch ice rink with quality ice, which is a big plus for ice skaters.”
Given that Edge is publically owned and operated by Owensboro Parks and Recreation, Bodenheimer is happy that the ice arena is giving back to the community.
“We are making an economic impact,” Bodenheimer said. “We are paying back our community. We have always been known for baseball and football, but now we are bringing people to Owensboro for sports during the winter months.”
Jared Bratcher is sports marketing director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. He told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer there were more than 50 tournaments in Owensboro in 2013, including figure skating, hockey, baseball, running, soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, fishing and football. In fact, there was some type of tournament in town every month, filling every hotel room in the city on 10 weekends last year. Bratcher said Edge Ice Center is the reason for increased participation in ice skating and hockey.
Bodenheimer believes it is also important to give back to the community through group events. Edge is often the destination for community fundraisers for schools, and hosts a number of local organizations like Girls Inc., Wendell Foster’s Campus for Developmental Disabilities, and The Daniel Pitino Shelter. But it is not just these local organizations that are taking advantage of this state-of-the-art ice arena.
Edge has become a source for family fun in Owensboro during the cold winter months. Bodenheimer says that she sees at least 60 percent of customers for the year between the months of November and January. And with events like last month’s Frozen at Edge and this month’s Skate with Santa coming up, it is not hard to imagine why. Bodenheimer says, “Believe it or not, our busiest day is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We see about 400 people.”
But a typical weekend during the busy season will consist of events, competitions, practices and open skating from 7 a.m. Saturday morning to 9 p.m. Sunday night, with constant skaters on the ice. So if you and your family are looking for something fun to do this winter, be sure to check out Edge Ice Center.
Skate with Santa
Saturday, December 13 from 1 – 4 p.m. | Edge Ice Center
Get into the holiday spirit and skate with Santa! There will be free hot chocolate and candy canes, and some exciting exhibitions by local members of the Owensboro Figure Skating Club, plus giveaways and door prizes throughout the session.
4th Annual I.S.I. Figure Skating Competition
Friday, January 30 – Sunday, February 1 | Edge Ice Center
All lesson participants are invited to participate in the annual Ice Skating Institute competition held at Edge. Watch out for more information on registering for this fun event.
[tw-divider]Does your child want to learn to skate?[/tw-divider]
Here are a few questions you may be asking yourself about starting your son or daughter skating at Edge.
What is the Edge Ice Center Skating School?
The Edge Ice Center’s Learn to Skate program follows the guidelines set forth by the Ice Skating Institute of America (I.S.I.). Classes range from beginner to advanced, aiding development of fundamental skating maneuvers. The I.S.I. WeSkate program is America’s original learn to skate program, and has introduced over 5 million individuals to the wonderful world of ice skating.
What does each class consist of?
All class times include 30 minutes of instruction, plus 30 minutes of practice ice time at the end of each class. The practice time will benefit your child by enabling him/her to master new skills and progress at a faster rate. The exception is the Learn to Skate Hockey class, which consists of 45 minutes of instruction each week, with no practice ice.
How old does my child have to be?
The Tots class is especially designed for children ages 3- 6 years old. Edge offers classes from 3 years through adult.
Can a parent be in the same class as their child?
The great thing about ice skating is that it is a recreational activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, together. Parents are welcome to learn with their children and make it a family event. Adult classes are also available. Only those registered for lessons are allowed on the ice during instruction time and practice time.
How do I register?
Classes are divided into groups according to ability, and are limited on a first-come, first-served basis. You may register in person or by calling the Edge Ice Center.
Edge Ice Center | 1400 Hickman Ave. | (270) 687-8700