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ImOn Ice Arena preps for first RoughRiders season in over a year and a half following derecho damage

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - First it was the COVID-19 pandemic, then, it was the derecho that canceled the season for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Now, all sights are set on October 16th being the team’s first home game in about a year and a half.

“It’s still is unreal to believe the amount of damage that was done inside the building,” explained ImOn Ice Director of Events Tonya Frost.

The Olympic sheet of ice at the ImOn Ice Arena didn’t even have a roof on the west wall. Thirteen months after the devastation of the derecho, the ice is back up and running hosting community events.

“It took a lot of work to get back to where we are between the roof, the interior, the windows, the sound system and the fire system,” said Frost. “There were a lot of people that went into making the arena look the way it does today,” she added.

The project to rebuild cost an estimated 7 million dollars. However, more improvements were made to the arena’s NHL ice.

“During the derecho, we had capital improvement projects ongoing and there was a three million dollar infrastructure upgrade that turned our building to more energy efficient to help with our carbon footprint as well as financial savings,” explained ImOn Ice General Manager Erik Hudson.

In addition to fixing damage of the derecho, the arena also added some enhancements for the fan experience. One was the new scoreboard located over center ice. That was funded by an anonymous donor. Another addition was the four party decks located in the corners of the arena.

“We’ve been really, really trying to get back on our feet and make this the best building in the USHL,” added Hudson.

Following the terrible chain of events, for the first time in a year and half both ice rinks will be open at the same time. After many months of renovation and construction, arena staff are ready to show it off.

“It’s been about a year and a half and we want people to come back out and see what we have,” said Frost.

“It’s been a community effort really. The fact of the matter is that it’s taken everybody,” added Hudson.

To get a glimpse of the updated arena, the community is invited to a grand re-opening Saturday, October 9. Attendees will be allowed to skate on both sheets of ice from 2-5 P.M. The event is free.

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