Local News, Sports

H-F Ice Arena schedules open skating this weekend

After being shut down for 15 months, the H-F Ice Arena will reopen with open skating hours this weekend.

The NHL regulation-sized rink will host open skate from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday as part of the ice arena’s soft opening. Crews are still preparing the ice for the studio rink.

Olivia Rhodes, 12, prepares to begin her routine at the H-F Ice Arena Sunday. The Glenwood Figure Skating Club was the first group to use the newly opened ice arena for a regional competition. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

The ice arena will officially reopen with a ceremony and special events on March 12. 

Crews from the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District prepared the large rink the week of Feb. 6 to get it ready for the first skaters on the ice. The Glenwood Figure Skating Club hosted its Little Cupids competition Sunday, Feb. 12.

Hockey skaters will have two opportunities to skate this week, said Lyndsay Freeman, ice arena director.

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District park board knew it was going to need to replace the refrigeration system making the ice but anticipated it could keep the system running for another year or two. The system failed just as the hockey season was starting in November 2021. 

The ice arena rebuild project is estimated at $7.1 million, an increase from the original $6.5 million price tag. Between when the original design was presented and the four or five months before the park district went out for bids, inflation hit and labor and material costs spiraled, in some cases as much as 20%. The park district also had a delay due to a summer strike by quarry workers.

The work was under the direction of W.B. Olson Inc. as project manager. Williams Architects was the project architect, and American Arena installed the new refrigerant system.

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