A look at one half of the Reno Ice hockey rink from the bleachers on the south side of the facility.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
RENO — There are not too many standard features around the new Jennifer M. O’Neal Reno Ice Community Arena.
From high-end rink design to expansive locker rooms, the new arena’s specs are enough to see the excitement across the faces of the staff involved with the project.
Reno Ice already offers a youth hockey program, an adult learn-to-play league and has plans to start another youth learn-to-play program in May.
Even in a restrictive season, the early community impact of the local rink has quickly caught on.
Building the base
Hockey director Mike Harder has been involved with the game since growing up in Manitoba, Canada.
Harder is busy watching the youth and adult hockey program take shape, and after moving to Reno with his wife, couldn’t be more excited to continue seeing the sport he loves grow around the area.
“My wife and I found our way to Reno, oddly. We started doing – at Circus Circus last year – a couple of parents and I figured out how to get the ice and we did some clinics on Saturday and Sunday morning,” Harder said. “We had close to 80 kids coming to that and that kind of rolled right into this program.”
In the first month since opening, Reno Ice has already seen close to 300 youth hockey players step foot into the program.
Even if initial turnout was up in the air because of the pandemic, being able to get out and skate with the game’s future players is a common goal.
“We feel hockey is for everyone here and this is our community rink. We want the rink to feel like that third home (for kids),” said Harder.
Reno Ice isn’t just looking to bring hockey players out to the ice either, as it also offers public skating, introductory classes and figure skating opportunities.
The arena also has a disco ball and sound system, which Harder has taken full advantage of for his private clinics.
Public skating sessions are also available at $10/person along with $4 skate rentals, if needed.
“We’re going to need a second sheet (of ice), real fast,” laughed Harder. “Kids and families are starting to fall in love with hockey and all we are trying to do is sponsor that passion.”
How to get on the ice
Reno Ice is located at 15500 Wedge Parkway just past the Summit Mall and South Valleys Regional Park.
Harder anticipates seeing turnout continue to grow as the facility becomes more popular and the pandemic eases.
High-tech safety features are evident to ice rink aficionados including stanchion-less, seamless glass. The glass also extends to the edge of the boards to help protect individuals who find the wall.
For information on all lessons, programs and rentals can be found at www.renoice.com or by calling (775) 636-6900.