'Mighty Ducks Bill' Could Save Hundreds of Minn. Ice Rinks

Updated: 03/06/2014 6:44 PM
Created: 03/06/2014 9:03 AM
By: Jennie Olson

Hockey will be on the minds of lawmakers on Thursday; there's a push at the State Capitol to save hundreds of Minnesota ice rinks from closing.

Under the ice at more than 100 ice rinks across the state lies an environmental hazard in the Freon, called R-22, which is used to keep the ice frozen. The U.S. government will not allow Freon to be imported to this country starting in 2020.

But the cost of replacing those systems can range from several hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million depending on the age of the rink. That's a cost that will be covered by either taxpayers or individual hockey associations that own and operate their own rinks.

Now, athletic groups and lawmakers are trying to get a piece of the bonding bill in this legislative session. They are asking the state to borrow $15 million to help small cities and small hockey associations cover the cost of the expensive refrigeration replacement.

Lawmakers hope the appropriately-named Mighty Ducks Bill can help.

Cottage Grove might have to spend as much as $2 million to replace the refrigeration systems in two of its rinks. That type of project would need approval of the city council and the mayor and would also require help from the state as well.

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