Future of ice center remains in Jeopardy.

For years the Lane County Ice center, located in southern most parts of the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood, has been a destination for family fun with public skating sessions, a center for learning ice hockey and figure skating, and home to the Eugene Generals and Oregon Ducks hockey teams. The ice center has been a part of Eugene since 1989 when it opened with skating figures such as Tanya Harding, yet the rink still remains little known to many residents. Recently the center struggled simply to stay afloat and will be facing major cut backs in an effort to survive. I hope to write my enterprise story about the rink and decided to look into it’s history and the background of it’s struggles.
The ice center has faced its worse troubles this year as it was forced to cut back on staff during the summer and will close for a five month period starting this march when the Eugene Generals finish their season. The problem stems from the accumulation of permafrost under the ice and could cost $1 to $3 million dollars to repair.
This isn’t a good sign for perhaps the most frequent users of the rink, the Eugene Generals. The Generals have enjoyed the use of the rink since their formation in 2005. The team has enjoyed a large amount of success since forming. They finished ranked second in their conference with a record of 31-13 in the 2005-2006 season and third with a record of 35-15 in 07-08. In the early stages of this 2009-2010 season the Generals are second in the standings behind Puget Sound with a 3-1 record.
The ice rink is also home the Oregon Ducks hockey team, the 2008-09 Pac-8 champions. It also houses the Eugene Figure Skating Club and offers competition level classes in both hockey and figure skating.
For all it’s draws, however, the rink struggles to survive. The failing economy, lack of support from the community and large cost of maintenance and expenses have taken their toll. Utilities bills over the summer simply to keep the ice frozen cost $14,000 and the county has trouble supporting the ice center, especially with even older buildings around the Lane Events Center that are in need of maintenance.

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