By Martin Kidston
A dozen volunteers gathered outside a hockey store in Midtown Missoula over the weekend to help raise money needed to replace equipment at Glacier Ice Rink.
Hockey boosters took advantage of the hot summer weather to host a car wash, putting a small dent in the $100,000 needed to provide the rink with seating in time for the hockey season.
“We need to raise $100,000 to replace the bleachers, and we’re at about $40,000 right now,” said Brooke Kininger, a hockey mom and hockey player. “We’d like those bleachers to be in by September, because the season starts then.”
Earlier this year, the former owner of the Missoula Maulers removed the bleachers, along with the rink’s sound system and other improvements, leaving the facility short on seating.
Rink officials have said the timing was bad. The aging facility has faced a number of unexpected costs in recent years, including the replacement of a $60,000 compressor and an $80,000 cooling tower.
The repairs have left little to no money in the budget to replace the rink’s seating.
So as temperatures pushed into the mid-90s on Saturday, boosters lured motorists to a vacant parking lot with the promise of a car wash. By early afternoon, more than 30 drivers had pulled aside, offering a donation in exchange for a clean car, truck or boat.
“I was going to get the car washed anyway,” said supporter Kern Wilson. “I had no idea what the cause was. I just like to help out if a I can.”
To offset the cost of new bleachers, the rink has also launched a fundraising campaign on its quest to raise the money. Donors can purchase a seat for $100, and donations are being accepted online.
While the car wash was unlikely to complete the challenge, boosters were emboldened by the support. They plan to host other fundraisers before fall.
“We’re tying to come up with ideas and do some stuff outside while the weather is good,” said Jason Moran, a hockey dad and hockey player. “We want to make the facility look nice. People coming from out of town, it helps build that junior hockey league, and these other youth leagues too. We have a pretty good program and we want to keep it going.”
Contact reporter Martin Kidston at firstname.lastname@example.org