Outdoor skating is on the way to Johnson County. The Kansas City Ice Center’s covered, outdoor NHL-sized skating rink is on schedule for its grand opening Nov. 17.
The KCIC is located at 19900 Johnson Drive in western Shawnee and has been in operation with indoor facilities for about 18 months now.
Back in 2011, Johnson County had two places where people could play ice hockey, figure skate and skate — Ice Midwest in southern Overland Park and Ice Sports (now KCIC).
“The ice equipment at Ice Midwest broke,” said Bill Fromm, managing partner of KCIC. “My son (Eddie, now 10) was playing ice hockey at Ice Midwest, and my partner Mike Curry had two boys in hockey, plus he was the president of the Kansas City Stars Hockey Association.”
Soon, they were looking for a place to relocate the Kansas City Stars. They eventually decided to take over Ice Sports.
“We wanted to have a place for people in Johnson County to skate,” Fromm said.
They spent $1 million fixing up the inside at Ice Sports.
“We completely redid the inside rink and overhauled the inside,” Fromm said. “We are now the only privately owned rink in the Kansas City area.”
KCIC now has two figure skating clubs using the facility, as well as youth hockey, adult hockey, public skating and learning to skate and learn to play hockey programs for kids.
“We open at 5:30 a.m. for figure skating and close at 1 a.m. after adult hockey,” said Fromm, who made his mark on Kansas City in the advertising agency business.
They eventually decided to build an outdoor rink with a cover that would keep the sun off the ice and allow skating activities at temperatures of 60 degrees and below. When temperatures climb above 60 degrees, there will be roller hockey and roller skating at the rink.
“We think we can have the outdoor rink open from mid-November through mid-March,” Fromm said.
Dean Nelson, who is from Rochester, Minn., came to Kansas City to run the operation.
“They called 18 months ago and asked me to come and help,” Nelson said. Nelson is the general manager and hockey director at KCIC.
“I was a business owner and land developer in Rochester,” he said. “And I taught hockey at various levels.”
He is excited about the prospects with the outdoor ice rink.
“Adding a second sheet of ice will enhance the advancement in hockey, figure skating and recreational skating,” he said. “And it will bring added revenue to the city of Shawnee.”