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Ice arena could open by summer 2023

By Chris Michlewicz; rendering courtesy of DAWG Nation Hockey Foundation

Photo of proposed ice arena

A conceptual rendering of the front of the proposed DAWG Nation Ice Rink, which could open by 2023.

If all goes as planned, the City of Castle Pines will be home to a world-class ice arena by summer 2023.

The proposal from DAWG Nation Hockey Foundation (DAWG Nation) is to build a multi-sheet hockey facility – purpose-built to support both disabled and able-bodied athletes – on 10 acres of City-donated land southeast of I-25 and Hess Road/Castle Pines Parkway. The plan is currently in the design phase and fundraising is still underway.

With the backing of local elected officials, dozens of former and current National Hockey League players and executives, and a legion of generous donors, the DAWG Nation Ice Rink is poised to help ease demand for ice time in the south metro area and create a positive economic impact on the Castle Pines vicinity.

Planned uses in the proposed 140,000- to 150,000-square-foot facility include public skating, hockey tournaments, adult and youth hockey leagues, figure skating, instructional camps and clinics, theater on ice, and sled/adaptive hockey. The complex also will include a restaurant, and training and fitness areas.

DAWG Nation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Littleton, originally hoped to break ground in October 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic and its effects pushed the ceremonial act further down the road.

City of Castle Pines Mayor Tera Radloff said the City’s partnership with DAWG Nation reflects Castle Pines’ healthy lifestyle and “fits with who we are.” The City donated the 10 acres of land in The Canyons on which the $36-million arena will be built because the facility will be a “community asset” that supports athletes of all ages and ability levels. The arena also can be used for activities outside of hockey, Radloff said. She believes the proposed DAWG Nation Ice Rink will be a regional, national and possibly international attraction because the planned adaptive components will make the facility the first of its kind in the nation.

The City is in the final stages of executing a memorandum of understanding to formalize the partnership with DAWG Nation. Construction costs for the arena and day-to-day operations will be funded by DAWG Nation’s fundraising activities and revenue generated by the rink.

Martin Richardson, president and CEO of DAWG Nation, says “lots of serendipitous things had to happen” for the rink proposal to gain steam, including a chance meeting with Colorado Avalanche legend Milan Hejduk, who has since become an honorary board member for the nonprofit.

The DAWG Nation Ice Rink is proposed to be built east of I-25 and south of Hess

The DAWG Nation Ice Rink is proposed to be built east of I-25 and south of Hess Road in the City of Castle Pines.

DAWG Nation provides opportunities for persons with and without disabilities to gain confidence and independence through participation in national and international amateur ice hockey events, and supports local, national and international amateur ice hockey players and their families in times of crisis. DAWG Nation has given out more than $2 million to families in need since it was created in 2011 by members of a recreational adult hockey team following the death of one of their teammates, Jack Kelly. The team, which included Richardson, was called the DAWGS.

“Never did I think when me and my buddies got together that it would ever turn into this,” Richardson said.

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