This is really a celebration of our presence here in the community and we encourage both skaters and non-skaters alike to join in the festivities.
Scottsdale, AZ (Vocus) October 7, 2008
Scottsdale, AZ -- The Alltel Ice Den announced today they will be hosting a free community event on Saturday, October 18 to mark the facility's tenth year in Scottsdale. The event, dubbed the "Ten at the Den Birthday Bash" will run noon to 8:00pm with free activities both inside and outside the facility. On-ice activities will include free public skating, free learn-to-skate classes, figure skating exhibitions, mini-mite hockey games and an ASU Sun Devils hockey practice. Outside, the Ice Den will feature bounce houses, a video game semi-truck, a Scottsdale fire truck, live bands, balloon artists, face-painters, an outdoor BBQ and more.
"We have a tremendous customer base and this event is a way for us to show our appreciation for their support over the years", said Ice Den president, Mike O'Hearn. While Ice Den customers are all invited, event organizers said the event is open to all. "Oh, absolutely", said O'Hearn. "This is really a celebration of our presence here in the community and we encourage both skaters and non-skaters alike to join in the festivities."
The concept for the Ice Den was originated in 1996 when the NHL's Winnipeg Jets were purchased and relocated to Phoenix. Without an existing training center available to them, the Coyotes committed to build not only a home for the team, but a true state-of-the-art skating and entertainment facility for the public as well. After two years of planning, exhaustive city meetings and eventual construction, the Ice Den was officially opened in June of 1998. "We (the Coyotes) were so glad to finally have a home,” says O'Hearn. "Beyond just the needs of the team however, we felt the Ice Den really gave us the opportunity to develop and grow a fan base here because we could invite the public into our house to rub shoulders with the players and experience many of the same amenities."
Through the years, the Ice Den has evolved into much more than originally envision. In late-December 2003, the Coyotes completed construction on Jobing.com Arena and relocated much of their training to Glendale. While the team occasionally practiced at the Ice Den, most were held in Glendale. While the Ice Den was sad to see the team go, the move actually created a tremendous opportunity for expansion as Mountainside Fitness, an Arizona-based, high-end health club chain quickly moved into the 13,000 sq/ft space at the Ice Den. The health club has been a tremendous addition to the Ice Den, servicing not only Ice Den customers but attracting an entirely new cliental to the facility. In 2007, the Coyotes recognized the value of the Ice Den’s amenities and proximity to the player’s homes and despite the loss of their exclusive training center, returned to the facility for most of their practice and training needs.
In 2004, Peter Piper Pizza, a 150 plus location restaurant chain, acquired the Ice Den’s 8,500 sq/ft restaurant space. This too has been very well received by Ice Den patrons and the surrounding community. Their pizza quality and other food items are second to none and the full bar and adjoining outdoor patio compliment the Ice Den’s adult participants. Peter Piper’s arcade is a big hit with kids and parties as well!
In 2006, BNC National Bank assumed 1,200 sq/ft of retail space and established a full-service bank branch within the Ice Den lobby. While not initially considering an ice rink as a base, BNC was looking for a North Scottsdale location to service their ever-growing market. The Ice Den’s space was a perfect fit and many rink patrons as well as local businesses appreciate the new amenity now available to them.
As for programming, the Ice Den continues to boast some of the strongest skating numbers in the industry. After registering the most USFSA Basic Skills skaters in the nation in their inaugural year of 1998-1999, the Ice Den has been 5th or higher each year since, finishing 2nd last year with 1,644 registered skaters. The Ice Den’s youth hockey program remains one of the largest in the southwest. The program currently has over 600 house and travel hockey registered players this year. Likewise, the adult hockey league currently has 550 players registered on 40 teams.
While the amenities and accolades speak for themselves, the facility credits its customers for making the Ice Den what it is today. “Without their strong support over the years, the Ice Den would simply be another pretty building in Scottsdale”, said O’Hearn. “The commitment of our loyal customers has made it easy for us to constantly challenge ourselves to provide new programs and services along the way.”