Verona Hockey

About 40 youth hockey players from Verona, high school players from Verona and Madison Edgewood were on hand for the groundbreaking on Saturday, Jan. 21, to build a 40,000-square-foot hockey arena. 

With about 40 youth, Verona Area and Madison Edgewood High School hockey players on hand, the dream for an ice arena expansion became reality with a groundbreaking on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Verona Ice Arena.

A new 40,000-square-foot NHL-sized hockey arena is being built just south of the current Verona Ice Arena on East Verona Ave. I.C.E. Inc., the governing board for the Verona Ice Arena has raised more than $5.6 million for a new arena that Joel Marshall, executive director of the VIA, said could cost up to $9 million because of inflation.

“We still have a lot of work and need to raise a lot more money in the next year to make sure we are able to build this in the right way to give more kids a place to call home for the next 30 years,” Marshall said.

The new rink will allow the Verona Wildcat Youth Hockey Association to host more tournaments with two sheets of ice. The new arena, expected to open for the 2023 season will be the new home for the Madison Edgewood boys hockey team.

Le Jordan, the executive director of the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is thrilled a second hockey arena is becoming a reality.

“This project isn’t just for the athletes and skaters,” Jordan said. “Expansion will also boost all of our local businesses in this community. The number of visitors this additional sheet of ice will bring to Verona is great for those local businesses.”

Thirty years ago, a group of hockey parents formed the Southwest Eagles and built the current VIA in 1994. I.C.E. Inc. is using the same capital campaign slogan, “Ice for Kids of All Ages” to raise financial support.

The new arena is planning to have more open skate times, an off-ice skill training and weight lifting area.

“We have been fortunate enough to have dozens of Olympians skate here over the years, figure skaters, speed skaters and several hockey players who have made it to the highest level,” Marshall said. “Guys like Adam Burish, Jack Skille, Jordan Schmaltz and Phil Kessel. They all got their start here as little hockey players and we can’t wait to add more names to that list.”

The rink will feature seven new locker rooms, including a new one for the Verona boys hockey team and a future locker room for a girls hockey team. A mezzanine seating area that stretches across the length of the new arena will be available for watching games.

Edgewood boys hockey coach Pete Rothering thanked the Verona community and I.C.E. Inc. for the support and partnership. He doesn't expect the rivalry with the Wildcats to die.

“We started talking to people in our community and I got questions that Verona is one of your big rivals and I say, ‘Yeah, but I think it’s healthy, a great relationship and I think it will continue.’”

City of Verona Mayor Luke Diaz addressed the crowd despite chilly temperatures and applauded the community for teamwork. The City and town of Verona have agreed to a 40-year lease for the land for the new rink.

“Some days mayor can be a lot of work and a difficult job,” Diaz said. “Some days are good. Why I work so hard at the job and why I put up with the bad days is because of good days like this. Being mayor has allowed me to support the community in things like this. It helps me achieve my goals to make Verona a little bit better place.”

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