New ice rink draws hockey players and skaters to Rutland

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(Host) Hockey players and recreational skaters have been making good use of Rutland’s new field house. The $3.5 million facility opened last month, and as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, organizers hope it will bring more than just skaters to the region.

(Keck) Bill Bascom manages the Rutland Regional Field House, which is located just behind the Diamond Run Mall. He says public skating over the holidays has been tremendous.

(Bascom) “It’s incredible. Christmas Day we had public skating for six to eight hours and the day after Christmas and we must have had between 500 and 600 people each day come through the doors and skate.”

(Keck) The rink is sized to National Hockey League standards so it can host professional and college level games. Bascom says Castleton State College, Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy and Rutland High School are now all using the rink for their men’s and women’s hockey games. In addition, the field-house plans to host a minimum of four hockey tournaments per winter season.

A study commissioned to assess how such tournaments would impact the local economy found that one tournament alone would add more than $22,000 in lodging, meals, entertainment and other expenses. Manager Bill Bascom says an indoor Astroturf surface will help attract other sporting events as well.

(Bascom) “Right now we’re working on some projects to get indoor lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, maybe some flag football. It’s a new opportunity for the city and surrounding areas.”

(Keck) The field house has five locker rooms, a large lobby area with a pro shop, concession area, offices and a conference room. Bascom says they’re still raising money to add a mezzanine and complete a bleacher area that will seat 900 to 1,000 people. Besides sporting events, he says they’d also like to host trade shows and have even been approached for a lumberjack competition.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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