Former Ice Mountain Arena opening soon as Crystal Field House - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Former Ice Mountain Arena opening soon as Crystal Field House

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BURTON (WJRT) - (06/18/14) - Gone are the days when Ice Mountain Arena actually housed ice - but this skating complex has life in it yet.

A Genesee County businessman is bank-rolling its comeback and breathing new life into the 70,000 square foot facility.

Jim Cokley, owner of Genesee Tile, bought the property last year with plans to turn it into a warehouse, but soon learned the community wasn't ready to part with their beloved arena.

They didn't just want the ice back - they begged.

Welcome to Crystal Field House. Vince Brooks is working to get this place back up and running, and people are already anxious to get on the ice.

"Today we are announcing the University of Michigan Flint's hockey team is on board," he said. "This will become a two sheet ice arena again."

This will be U of M's home ice. The greater Flint Hockey Association is back and on board too, plus some men's leagues and the Elite Skating Academy.

Renovations are in full swing. It will be revamped from the ground up, but one room needed the most expensive repairs. While the building was vacant, thieves broke in and did a whole lot of damage.

"Anything that was electric, they stole," Brooks said.

Aside from sprucing the place up, they also wanted to be green. They just bought a clean burning natural gas Zamboni last week - and they're hiring.

They hope to have the place staffed and ready for a soft opening in early July.

Under a new name, it's still the same spot that holds fond memories for the community. When it closed in 2012, the teams and associations who used Ice Mountain were forced to travel to other towns.

Many are now calling and wanting to come back.

"Our mission statement is to make this a community ice arena that people are proud to come to. We feel proud of it and I want people to know that," Brooks said.
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