CEDAR SPRINGS – Ice hockey fans will no longer have to travel to Grand Rapids or beyond to practice, play or just skate for fun.
The Cedar Rock Sports Plex is undergoing a transformation from roller to ice hockey. The project is costing more than $600,000 and is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks with a tentative opening set for Sept. 25.
The 50,000-square foot facility, which opened in 2004, will feature a full size (200×85) ice hockey rink, regulation size (180×80) indoor soccer field, lockers, showers, spectator viewing, a concession stand and pro shop.
The ice hockey rink will replace the roller hockey rink. The move was prompted by the declining number of roller hockey players the past few years.
“Our roller hockey program was doing very well at the beginning,” co-owner Rick Strouse said. “The last couple of summers our better roller hockey guys were moving to playing ice hockey in Grand Rapids. We either had to keep doing what we’re doing and try to make it work or try ice hockey, which we know there are a lot more children involved than roller hockey.”
The estimated cost is more than $600,000. About 40 percent of the project was already in place because of the roller hockey rink. Typically, the cost of an ice hockey rink from scratch is more than $1 million.
“This will be the only facility north of Grand Rapids all the way to Big Rapids,” Strouse said. “From Muskegon to the west and Lansing to the east.”
Strouse is excited about the change and expects it to be a positive change.
“We are already getting a lot of feedback from people,” he said. “It’s going to work. The youth will probably move quicker than the adults, which is what we based our whole hockey program on anyway. We got into the business for the youth.”
Roller hockey will still be available in the summer. Soccer will be played during the fall, winter and spring months and then be transformed into a roller hockey rink during the summer months.
Ice hockey programs will feature leagues for youth, high school and adult (coed as well) players. Open skates will take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at different times along with drop-in hockey at different times.
“We will also open it up for senior skates during the day,” Strouse said. “We will try to have some daytime hockey and soccer programs for the third shifters. We will have figure skating available as well.”
Free hockey clinics will be held the first couple of weeks in October. This will be for kids that used to play roller hockey or those who would like to try hockey. Used equipment will be available for use during the clinics.
The Cedar Rock Sports Plex is located at 4758 Cornfield Drive in Cedar Springs. For more information visit www.cedarrocksportsplex.com.