Fritz Dietl Award Winner
World Arena Ice Hall

By Kent McDill

June 5, 2017
   In The Loop Extended Articles

There are places in the United States where figure skating is a major source of entertainment and a key component of the area’s culture.

But it would be difficult to find a place more dedicated to the future of figure skating in America than Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is, after all, home to U.S. Figure Skating and the U.S. Olympic training center.

There is likely no place in the country where the pressure is higher to maintain the facilities where the U.S. Olympic team trains. It is the pressure Allan Long deals with daily as the Director of Event Services at the World Arena Ice Hall, the home training facility for the Olympic team and the chosen training facility for the country’s best skaters.

The success of the facilities team at the Ice Hall is noted by the Professional Skaters Association, which awarded the World Arena Ice Hall the 2017 Fritz Dietl Award for facility management.

“We are very honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious award,” Long said. “It is meaningful for everyone in the facility, and we are humbled to be recognized. It is a validation for the effort they put forth to promote, foster and grow the sport at all levels. For us it is a big deal.”

The World Arena Ice Hall is part of the Broadmoor World Arena, an entertainment venue that hosts concerts and conferences and also hosts ice events along with the Ice Hall. The Ice Hall is home to the Broadmoor Skating Club, one of America’s most storied figure skating community organizations, the Colorado College men’s hockey team, and numerous area youth, high school and hockey leagues.

There are two sheets of ice at the Ice Hall, one NHL size and one Olympic size, and perhaps the most recognized coaching staff in the country.

The Ice Hall was constructed in 1995 after the original Broadmoor World Arena was shut down in 1994. The World Arena was constructed two years later, creating the skating and entertainment area that carries a great deal of weight nationally.

“We are quite lucky where we are,” Long said. “Obviously, you have U.S. Figure Skating a mile or so down the road, and the USOC is headquartered here. We are the only U.S. Olympic figure skating training site in the country, and because of our close relations with the USOC and U.S. Figure Skating, we have great resources from them. We deal with either organization almost on a daily basis.

Those two organizations have created a figure skating community unlike any other in the U.S.- that kind of community involvement creates its own pressures for Long and his staff.

“The challenge for us is finding enough time to fit everybody in,” Long said. “Even though we have two sheets, we have the Broadmoor Skating Club, which is our primary tenant, a Division I hockey team and 12 different high schools which play here. There are speed skating teams that use the facility, and a curling club. We have to make time for public activities as well, so trying to fit everyone is in the challenge.”

Despite its primary role as a training facility, the Ice Hall does provide public time a few hours a week, with at least an hour a day provided for anyone to get on the ice. “I wish I could do more for that,” Long said.

Because of the relationship between the Ice Hall and the figure skating and hockey teams, it is less affected by fluctuations in the economy than other ice rinks around the country. But because it is primarily a teaching facility, it must strive daily to keep the facility functions and equipment up-to-date and safe.

Earning the Fritz Dietl Award is a capper for the Ice Hall, but does not end the facility’s responsibility to the figure skating community.

“We do not want to rest on our laurels,” Long said. “Our goal is to make this a better and better facility every day.”