HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - On Wednesday, leaders at the Huntsville Iceplex showed off their new expansion. Four new locker rooms and two multi-purpose rooms means kids and adults who use the rink will have more room.
Huntsville City leaders agreed to fund a multi-million dollar expansion project for the Huntsville ice skating complex.
As kids file into the Iceplex during the week, many look for a spot to put on their gear before their ice time.
"There's not much space up there," youth hockey player Nico Tomczyk said.
Fortunately, kids and parents clamoring for ice time now have more elbow room. On Wednesday, families got their first look at the four new locker rooms and two multipurpose rooms, part of the $7 million phase one renovation.
"The demand is still there. It's actually the highest its ever been for hockey, curling and figure skating," youth hockey coach Shane Stewart said.
"We do have to compete with hockey and figure skating. We're not as big as them yet, but we're getting there," Rocket City Curling Club membership liaison Bernie Wiegand said.
Iceplex leaders are promising every team will have their ice time until March, when the rink will close as Lee Builders replaces the cooling system.
"It's going to be stressful on the program," Wiegand said.
Iceplex leaders are aiming to have the work finished by next October. But that'll leave many kids looking for another rink to use for the spring and summer.
"Lots of kids play, but without practices, you're not going to get better," Tomczyk said.
"I think six months is actually a pretty good new estimate. I'm confident in that time frame," Stewart said.
For years, families who've used the Iceplex have been begging for a third sheet. And Iceplex leaders say they may get their wish during phase three of the renovation. It's likely several years away and it's unclear how much that would cost.
The complex is currently home to three major programs for adults and youth: hockey, figure skating, and curling.
The Iceplex expects to temporarily shut down the rink starting in the middle of March of next year during phase two of the project. The complex`s manager says these improvements will likely not be completed until September of 2020.