The Hudson Hockey Association is celebrating 50 years of success in 2022, and is setting its sights on laying the foundation for the next 50 years by moving ahead with long-planned improvements to its Gornick Arena and Drewiske Arena facilities.
HHA’s Excellence at Every Level Campaign has already raised roughly $3.2 million of its $5.5 goal to provide much needed maintenance at the Hudson Civic Center and improvements that will provide additional modernized locker rooms, a central single-point entrance, new updated concession stand, and an expanded multi-use community room, among other things.
A new 20,000 square foot addition will connect Gornick Arena and Drewiske Arena and provide a central lobby with concessions and locker rooms, including bathrooms and showers, on the lower level, and an upper lobby that would include a community room with a catered kitchen and ice viewing.
“The intention was not to build the Taj Mahal, but to incorporate community and functionality while improving the experience for our youth,” said Anthony Aderhold, campaign chair.
The history of the Hudson Hockey Association dates back to 1972 when practices and games were held outside at the Burton Field Rink. In 1980 parents and community members banded together to build Hudson’s first indoor hockey arena, known as “The Bubble,” and in 1986 came together to build the Hudson Sports and Civic Center, also known as Gornick Arena.
Construction of a second sheet of ice next to Gornick Arena, known as Raider Arena, was completed in 2007 and was renamed Karen Drewiske Memorial Arena in 2014 after the passing of Drewiske, who was known as Hudson’s “Hockey Mom” and had been a longtime supporter of HHA as well as the Benchwarmer’s Club, Hudson Boosters and many other civic organizations.
Since its founding, the Hudson Hockey Association has produced 46 youth state championship teams, eight high school state championship teams, and had over 20 players advance to college or junior hockey. Several have gone on to play professional hockey, including current high school coach Davis Drewiske, who won a Stanley Cup championship with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.
Aderhold said in 2018 when he was treasurer of the association, the group started recognizing recurring costs associated with repairs and maintenance, specifically to the fire suppression system in Drewiske Arena.
“This prompted a deep dive into deferred maintenance, along with what was always the vision of connecting the rinks,” he said.
He said by connecting the rinks with a 20,000 square foot addition, it would allow for the removal of the temporary locker rooms in Drewiske Arena and provide more seating.
“So then Drewiske will become the primary rink, which was always the intention,” he noted. “The seating capacity for the primary rink of Drewiske will then become close to 1,000. By having that type of seating capacity we can now host major WIAA sectional tournaments.”
He said the addition will also allow Hudson to host more summer and offseason tournaments.
“We’ve lost out on tournaments by not having a centralized lobby location,” he said. “And the reason for that is because a lot of the vendors that sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, you name it, they won't go to those because you have two separate lobbies. So either you have to reduce ice, or they'll go off to Blaine or White Bear Lake or someplace else.”
Aderhold said the ability to host more tournaments could have up to an additional $15 million to $20 million impact to the St. Croix Valley and Hudson communities.
“That was all calculated based on a couple of things,” he said. “It was based on the additional tournaments, the average team size, and then we did another survey of what the average spend was by a family. Granted, this wasn't inflation adjusted for now, but it was $700 for hotel, food and then just general shopping.”
The Hudson Hockey Association will host a ceremonial groundbreaking celebration for the new addition on Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Hudson Civic Center. The evening will include a performance by Yam Haus along with guest speakers, including recent NHL first-round draft choice Isaac Howard, as well as an auction, food trucks and the opportunity to view floor plans for the updated facility.
“It will be a fun celebration,” Aderhold said.