EUGENE, Ore. — After years of cold luck, things are finally heating up at the Lane Ice Center. The venue’s name has changed, and that’s just the beginning.
For years the rink has been known as the Lane Ice Center, but the name was changed to The Rink Exchange three years ago after Hockey Oregon LLC reached a deal with the county to run and restore the rink.
The Lane Events Center is a hot spot for many different events, but just across the parking lot is a building overshadowed by the busy venues.
The vision for the Lane Ice Center didn’t go quite as planned, which led the county to some questions.
“Over time, the ice rink had not been performing as they’d like it to and there was some issue whether it should go forward or not,” said Ken Evans, Hockey Oregon LLC President.
But there were groups in the community that still held on to that vision and stepped in to make it come true, by making a proposal to Lane County.
“We were able to come up with a mutually helpful agreement to continue the operations here where the county would benefit from it on the public side and the private side would benefit by maintaining the asset available to the using groups,” Evans said.
Evans and Hockey Oregon LLC spear-headed the movement three years ago. They’ve taken over as the managing company and changed the name to The Rink Exchange.
“It’s only been in the last six months that we’re trying to re-brand in a way, sort of bring a fresh look at the ice rink here,” Evans said.
Evans says he believes the rink has come a long way from serious financial problems just a few years ago, to a bright future.
“In general, the mutual approach that the county and we have taken on this facility will keep it running for a long time,” Evans said.
The Lane County Fairgrounds says the deal with Hockey Oregon LLC is reviewed on a yearly basis on performance.
There aren’t many signs with the new name up around the rink, but Evans says it’s in the works. They’ve just been focused on restoring the building from the inside out.