NAU will see dream realized with new on-campus rink in 2018
In the 12 seasons A.J. Fairchild has been involved with Northern Arizona University’s hockey program, he and the NAU coaching staff have aspired to have the team move to the next level with an on-campus arena.
Next season, NAU hockey will see those dreams turn to reality as the NAU Fieldhouse, previously utilized for track, basketball and tennis practice, will be renovated to include a brand-new, 2500-plus seat arena that broke ground last month.
Recently, a pipe burst underneath the Fieldhouse that left the door open for the building of an ice rink at the facility. NAU hockey will be the major tenant, but open skates, skate clubs and other university groups will use the rink as well. The process quickly went into action, but the hockey program must do its part to make everything a reality.
“Right now, we’ve done the pour for the new rink and have all the pipes underneath it,” said Fairchild, NAU hockey’s director of operations. “We’re ready to go. The school wants us to raise $250,000 for the boards, glass, new dressing rooms, Zamboni and additional restrooms for our fans. We’ve had hockey here since 1971 and we are working with the NAU hockey alumni, fans and boosters to raise the money to complete the facility.”
If all goes well with the ice plant installation, the new rink may open as early as Jan. 2018. Soon after that, the two IceJacks teams will take the ice at their new home.
“You look at Arizona State with an NCAA Division I program and a top ACHA team and the University of Arizona with an ACHA Division I program – we’re trying to keep growing our program in Flagstaff the same way,” Fairchild said. “My long-term goal is to keep taking positive steps. We have great competition in the state of Arizona. The new facility will help us to compete at a higher level.”
NAU will have ACHA D-II and D-III teams for 2017-18.
Artist rendering/Lightvox Studio
— Matt Mackinder