Momentum building in the community to fill some of the empty spaces in eight-year-old facility

    Although some scattered photos have shown up here and there over the years, it appears that around eight years after its doors opened, real momentum appears to have been established that will result in the vast stretches of bare white walls in Crookston Sports Center getting some large photos that celebrate the past and present of hockey and skating in Crookston.

    “It’s an issue that’s not going to go away…the bare, white walls in the CSC,” Crookston Park Board member Becky Kofoed said.

    Kofoed says parents and families have reached out to her, expressing a willingness to be on a committee that could be tasked with adding photos to the CSC’s walls. “Everyone realizes and acknowledges that we might not have a lot of state tourney banners to fly around, but there are generations of families who have promoted the game and helped make that facility possible,” Kofoed said. “They would like to see some things put up even if it’s not recognizing actual state participation. They’re looking for opportunities to talk about it, and see what other interested community members could do to help out.”

    The Park Board has been wrestling with the issue for years. On one front, large photos could be erected of special and/or unique teams from the recent past to way back when. On another front, smaller photos, like 8.5 by 11 inches, could be put up of individual players who have, it’s been mentioned, gone on to play hockey at some level beyond the high school Pirates or Blue Wave. A few years ago, the Park Board established photo guidelines and pricing for such an effort, but progress has been sporadic since.

    Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said his department recently paid around $500 for framing and a protective Plexiglas cover for a large photo done up by Fastline Graphics, “Just to kind of show an example.” Parks & Rec has a second frame ready and waiting for another large photo, Riopelle said. “If people want to come forward with some teams or individuals, we can get some of those old Central and Mount teams on the railing,” he added, mentioning a “great” photo of a local female team from the 1940s.

    Like Kofoed, fellow board member Chris Fee said there is interest in the community to see more photos put up at the CSC, and he mentioned, specifically, a contingent of former local hockey players not only interested in helping out, but leading the effort. “They’d run things by us for approval first, but they’re looking through some stuff and have an idea on what teams and other things could go up,” Fee said.

    It’s likely that some of those people will be invited to the next Park Board meeting to further elaborate on what they’d like to see happen.

    The hockey-centric discussion spurred Kofoed to note that the current board makeup is heavy on basketball representation, and lacks a hockey presence. “That’s a big group, a big interest in the community,” she said.