It wasn't long after Crookston Sports Center opened around 3 1/2 years ago that some people said the big, white walls surrounding the Event Arena could use a dose of personality, or at least some type of decoration. Then, last year, Paul Eickhof, a youth hockey parent and local businessman, turned the talk into action when he took several photographs of historic, celebratory and significant hockey and figure skating photos that adorn the walls of Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls, and wondered if something similar could happen at the CSC.
Eickhof brought the photos to Park Board member Michelle Christopherson, and she's been working since on plans to make it possible for similar, large photos to be mounted on the CSC Event Arena walls. The first-ever alumni hockey weekend last winter, at which local hockey players who had gone on to play hockey beyond high school were celebrated, served as an opportunity to gauge interest in purchasing photo displays that celebrate certain local hockey teams, hockey players or figure skaters from the near and distant past, and Christopherson said there was interest.
At the most recent Park Board meeting, Christopherson reported on her discussions with Indigo Signs in Grand Forks and TRF Ralph Engelstad Arena representatives, and as a result, the board approved some basic guidelines and parameters to get the ball rolling.
The photo-quality displays will be of three different sizes, with the largest being six by eight feet, and they will be durable and easy to clean. Underneath each photo will be an engraved plaque that details who is being featured in the photo(s), and whether it's a celebration of a past team or individual, a memorial to someone, or something else entirely.
The costs range from $1,800 to $2,500, which includes installation, and the board will approve them on a case-by-case basis, with a 15 percent surcharge added. Each photo display will be approved for a minimum of 10 years. Indigo Signs representatives will consult with CSC staff on how photo displays can best be laid out in the Event Arena. Parks & Recreation Director/CSC Manager Scott Riopelle said he figures 12 to 16 could fit in the arena, depending on how big they are.
"These types of things are very interesting to people, it's history, it's something that will be really nice for us to add," said board member Kristy Morris-Leas. "It's going to be popular; I think people will want to celebrate our past and our tradition."