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Training facility could be added to Hastings Civic Arena

The Hastings Hockey Boosters are raising funds for a new hockey training facility they hope to build at the Hastings Civic Arena.

HHB is proposing two options for the facility. One would be a separate building off the southeast corner of the civic arena. The other would be adjacent to the arena at the entryway.

The Hastings City Council approved HHBs request to start raising funds for the project and requested HHB conduct a study to see if it's possible for the facility to be attached to the front of the arena. Within three months, the council will revisit the plan with more information from the study and fundraising efforts. The council won't make a decision on the project before the study results come back.

HHB coach Dustin Vogelgesang, Mark Chorney and the high school hockey coaches have been working on the idea since the beginning of the year.

"Kids are going to other cities around - to Lakeville, to Hudson, other places that have facilities of this type - and they're spending a lot of money to do so," Vogelgesang said.

With this facility, HHB hopes to offer a cheap, local and accessible training option to hockey players.

"The main important thing is to keep it in town," Vogelgesang said.

With a price tag of about $450,000, the facility would be between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet. It would offer off-ice training for local hockey players, including areas for puck shooting, passing, stick handling, plyometrics, slide boards and power skating.

The entire cost would be covered by funds raised by HHB. No city money will go into the project, Vogelgesang said, unless the city approves an attached facility. In that case, the city would discuss contributing funds to redesign the entryway, said Parks and Recreation director Barry Bernstein.

Even though HHB still has some time to wait for a final answer from the city, they have a good idea of what the facility will offer - synthetic ice, for example.

"It makes it easy for shooting and kids can be on their skates," Vogelgesang said.

Much of the facility's use would come from Hastings youth and high school hockey teams. Players will have access with their teams in the hockey season, but HHB hopes to keep the facility open during the summer as well. That way kids can come independent of a team to practice or pass their time outside of school - all under supervision.

The main reason HHB wanted to add onto the Hastings Civic Arena, which sits on city land, was to keep on-ice and off-ice practices and events centralized.

"Kids will walk by and see it, see kids working hard, so when they're older they'll do the same thing," Vogelgesang said.

The facility will also help bring a sense of pride to the arena as well, Vogelgesang suggested, giving those who train there an improved sense of being a Hastings hockey player.

If fundraising efforts go well, construction on the facility could begin this year yet.

"Our goal was to break ground in October, but we don't know if we'll meet that deadline," Vogelgesang said.