The season at Kotler Ice Arena had been humming along nicely until last week, when the Zamboni broke, jeopardizing the last month of rink events, including the Cutthroat Classic, a big fundraiser for the Teton Valley Foundation.
“As soon as we sent out the email about the Zamboni, people said ‘what can we do?’” said Lauren Bennett, the TVF executive director.
Dave Hudacsko of RAD Curbside sent over his mechanic to check out the machine, and mechanics from Gearhead Garage also tried to diagnose the problem, but it was more serious than they had originally thought. That’s when Howie Carruth, who manages the Snow King Sports & Events Center, came up with a solution. The Town of Jackson had purchased a new ice resurfacer and the old one wasn’t in use, so it got loaded up on a tow truck and sent over the pass on March 7. Hockey parents banded together to push the broken machine off the ice and help get its replacement into the rink.
“It’s was pretty neat that Snow King could help us out,” Bennett said. “Everyone was in ‘get it done’ mode.”
Able to resurface the ice again, TVF was able to host last weekend’s tournament, and the last few events of the season are back on. The youth and pond hockey teams have a few more practices and games before the season ends on March 15.
New this year is the upcoming Cocktails and Curling clinic on March 16. The idea first arose around a year ago and the schedule finally lined up perfectly for two curling instructors from Sun Valley to come over, prepare the ice, and teach locals how to play. Advanced registration is required to guarantee everyone a chance to throw stones, and the $25 ticket includes adult beverages from Grand Teton Brewing Company and Grand Teton Distillery
Then, on March 23, Kotler will get a final send-off party of its longest season ever. The Fandangle, powered by a donate-as-much-as-you-want mentality, will include music, 3 v. 3 pond hockey, GTBC drinks, and snacks.
“It’s been awesome to see how people are really embracing having a longer season,” Bennett said with excitement. “And it’s been so encouraging to see the growth of our tournaments and how it has an economic impact on the community beyond just people who skate. When people come in and pay for lodging and go out to eat, it ultimately benefits the community as a whole.”