UI Ice Arena closure forces team to prepare elsewhere

UI Ice Arena closure forces team to prepare elsewhere

The temporary closure of the University of Illinois Ice Arena will likely have a big impact on one local sports team.

The university's campus recreation department announced last week that mechanical issues have caused the rink to shut down, likely until mid-September.

Because the arena has the only ice rink in the Champaign-Urbana area, squads like the UI men's club hockey team won't have a local place to practice or hold tryouts until repairs are complete.  Hockey coach Nick Fabbrini said that in addition to avoiding the hassle of finding alternative sites for practices and games, the team has a bigger reason to hope the ice is back for its Sept. 19 home opener.  

Fabbrini said he's exploring alternative places to practice in Bloomington, Danville, Kankakee and Chicago. As a club team, any extra costs would be have to be covered by alumni support.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the UI Campus Recreation department said repair work is projected to take six weeks plus an additional week to make the ice. He said the department is hopeful the men's hockey team can host its first home game on Sept. 19, but officials won't know more until the repair process is underway. The problem lies with an air compressor and an air separator that aid cooling pipes under the ice.

The 73 year-old arena also hosts the Illini women's club hockey team and a synchronized skating team, among other things.

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