Thanks to generous donations and fundraising, the Sun Prairie Ice Arena has a new Zamboni.
Dave Batterman, president of SP ICE, said on Thursday, Aug. 13, the arena received the new Zamboni ice resurfacer.
“The purchase has been a long time coming,” Batterman said.
When the new facility at 838 Grove St. opened in January 2014, a second, 1994 used Zamboni was purchased.
“This was done because, after construction, funds were simply not available to purchase a new machine at that time, and a two-sheet ice arena required a second machine,” Batterman explained.
The “original” 1994 Zamboni was purchased new by Sun Prairie Youth Hockey at the previous facility located on Athletic Way, across from Prairie Athletic Club.
Purchasing a new replacement for one of the 1994 model year Zambonis was a top fund-raising priority for Sun Prairie ICE, Inc. (SP ICE owns/operates the ice arena as a self-sustaining, non-profit organization).
“During the fourth year of operation at the Grove Street facility, it became clear that operating with two older machines was no longer sustainable due to maintenance costs and risk,” Batterman said.
Fundraising for the new Zamboni began slowly with a few modest donations in March 2019. At the same time, the Board of Directors began planning the First Annual Zamboni Open Golf Outing presented by Harms Insurance Group, to be held in October 2019, with the sole purpose of raising money for a new machine.
On April 14, 2019, the community of Sun Prairie lost one of its greatest leaders in the passing of Tom Tubbs.
“Tom was a great friend and advocate for both the facility and game of hockey within our community,” Batterman said. “Shortly after Tom’s passing, we were humbled to learn that he had set aside $30,000 for the arena.”
When his wife, Rita Tubbs, and their family presented SP ICE with the check, the family agreed that applying the donation to the Zamboni fund was a fitting legacy for Tom. Plans were made to reveal this generous gift at a date in the future, possibly in conjunction with the delivery of the new machine.
“Their gift, coupled with the success of the Zamboni Open golf outing and other donations received in 2019, allowed us to place an order in January 2020 for a brand new, state of the art Zamboni, with delivery in time for the 2020-21 hockey season,” Batterman said.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Batterman said when the order was placed, nobody expected the world would change with a global pandemic.
After shuttering the rink for three months due to the government-required closures, Batterman said, Sun Prairie Ice Arena has slowly reopened the arena, offering small group programming as allowed by state and public health entities.
“We rely on community support now more than ever and hope to continue expansion of our offerings for the enjoyment and recreation of our community,” Batterman said. “Going forward, we look to begin raising funds to replace the other Zamboni within the next five to six years.”
Sun Prairie Ice, Inc. thanked the following people and businesses without whose support, funds for the new Zamboni would never have been raised:
• Tom and Rita Tubbs
• Bank of Sun Prairie — current Zamboni sponsor
• Cascade Development — current Zamboni sponsor
• Harms Insurance Group – Event sponsor for the First Annual Zamboni Open
• Amerhart Sun Prairie – Receiving assistance upon arrival of new Zamboni
• All golf outing sponsors and participants
• All Friends of Sun Prairie Ice Arena members.
For more information about Sun Prairie Ice Arena, located at 838 Grove St. near Sun Prairie High School, go online to https://www.sunprairieice.com or call 608-318-5423.