Hockey community mobilizes to protest Berkowitz takeover of rinks - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomePoliticsHockey community mobilizes to protest Berkowitz takeover of rinks

Hockey community mobilizes to protest Berkowitz takeover of rinks

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(Editor’s note: The location of this protest has been changed to the Loussac Library)

The hockey community in Anchorage is planning a protest at City Hall the Loussac Library on Wednesday from 4-7 pm to express its displeasure with the apparent permanent takeover by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz of the Ben Boeke Ice Arena to house homeless.

The Ben Boeke Arena is not actually being used to house homeless, as it has been vacated since midsummer after being designated as a homeless shelter by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz back in March. It’s vacated because it was apparently not needed.

But the city is not turning it over and the ice has not been replaced, which it normally is by Aug. 1. It’s just empty.

The hockey community has received threats from Anchorage Assembly members that if it doesn’t actively support the mayor’s plan for purchasing “homeless hotels” then the ice rinks won’t be returned to recreational purposes.

Figure skaters and tryouts usually take place in early August. The users pay $350 an hour to use the facility, per team. The teams and figure skaters are now over at Dempsey Anderson, where the ice is booked solid.

The youth participation in ice sports in Anchorage is in the thousands, and “losing two more sheets of ice for an entire year will have a severe impact on participation that we feel the effects of for several years,” wrote Kirk Kullberg of USA Hockey, State of Alaska, which has over 750 youth participants, plus adult leagues.

For some families the only constant leadership in their lives is their coach, Kullberg said. The athletes in the programs are growing in citizenship as well as in hockey. With students shut out of schools and other activities, access to recreation facilities is especially important, he said.

“I have lost faith in the support from our elected officials to make any decision that supports the hockey and figure skating communities,” he wrote. “I cannot say enough about how the players positively affect the community while they are student athletes and after they have graduated. We need to show our support for maintaining the program that gives our young athletes something to aspire to.  I would ask that you all show your support and join us in protesting the use of our rinks for anything other than hockey or other ice skating activities and to maintain the UAA Hockey Program.”

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • One can feel for those users, who also happen to actually pay the bills with their facility use fees. Tossing saving UAA hockey into the mix is a loser though. The program should have been killed two years ago when the admin first tried.

    • Maybe some of the fat admin salaries should have been cut instead of Seawolf Hockey. Or how about the Universities fall under one chancellor and admin system, as already suggested. There are many other cuts that could be made, let alone the University system sell off some of their physical assets, ie property to support themselves. Oops let’s not look at the huge elephant in the room. Seawolves used to be the biggest draw in HockeyTown

      • Pains me to say it, read Doyle Woody’s column from earlier this week in the ADN. Anchorage is no longer a hockey town. Fully agree the campuses should be merged… should have done that two years ago. But there again, your argument falls flat. One hockey program would need to go unless the NCAA offered an exemption (which would not happen).

  • How much longer will the people put up with Mayor Berkowitz Assembly Members? Threatening the Hockey Community which gives the youth of Anchorage a positive outlet. What will be the final straw to cause the people of Anchorage to revolt?

    • Mayor Berkowitz and the assembly could care less about Anchorage youth and Anchorage families. It’s all about power and control for that group of progressive narcissists. And liberal vote gathering. The Covid-19 emergency authority is the perfect cover for no government transparency. And Anchorage, you voted these political buffoon into office. Pay attention this November and next April, or suffer the negative consequences to the Anchorage/Alaska culture and lifestyle!

      • This article is about the Ben Boeke arena – the MOA wants to reserve the arena to house homeless people during the winter, while you would rather see the space open for hockey ‘for the children.’ Cool. Now what does your comment actually say? Idk some right wing narrative BS that you probably post on every article. Great insights, Larry.

  • It’s called consent of the governed. Those of us here in ANC are about to withdraw our consent. Ethan and his Assembly majority ought to keep that in mind. Cheers –

  • The assembly has no business threatening anybody, least of all the people that pay the bills in this town. This is a taking of OUR facilities. These facilities were built for the use and recreation of the taxpayers in Anchorage and their kids. This BS of running rough shod over people has to end. My kid used to go to goalie clinic every Saturday at Ben Boeke and it was good for him because he was always busy. Sports build character in people, something missing in the lives of the assembly, apparently.

  • Our Mayor and Assembly are either too stupid to recognize, or too arrogant to accept the reality that they’re killing the Golden Goose.

    You take properties that generate $300k/year revenue off the tax rolls to provide housing for the homeless? After you swore the four buildings would not be used for housing?

    You take Boeke and Sullivan off the revenue stream ($350/hour/sheet) to provide housing for the homeless?

    Why are the homeless the only ones being considered? Why are they the privileged class? We, the tax payers, who pay the bills in this town, AND YOUR SALARIES, demand you listen to our voices!

    • Its pure arrogance. Notice how Felix was thumbing his nose at the Federal Inspector General over the use of COVID Funds. How they thumb their nose at the Anchorage Taxpayers with this bait and switch. “{approach Anchorage could take, not just for buildings but smaller programs the municipality has suggested, is to free up general municipal funds by putting CARES Act money toward payroll of first responders and public health staff, then using the general funds to purchase the properties.” Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel

      And this one Ethan Berkowitz says the city is considering the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel in Midtown Anchorage as the prospective site of a new addiction treatment facility. The center would be established with funds from the sale of Municipal Light & Power

      So Chugiak Electric gets a great deal and Anchorage Tax payers get more debt because the Assembly will URAN8 away the funds instead of paying off the bonds that MLP owe. And More Homeless continue to move into Southside Anchorage More Non Profits get established and people who run the machine Constant, Von Imoff etc etc get richer and you wonder why BP ETAL are leaving this town.

    • They’re keeping it empty because they are billing the feds for it as a “covid” emergency shelter.. That is why Dempsey Anderson was essentially empty (one person) for several months this summer. Basically they are building their pet project slush fund at the expense of tax payers.

      Funny thing is, our governing idiots actually think it’s free money. All the while forgetting that the same people who pay property tax in Anchorage are the ones who are going to have to help pick up the tab for federal aid to keep an entire facility empty and on standby.

  • So the Assembly threatens Kroger’s Dinner and now threatens the hockey community. Who do these people think they are? I for one will be doing all I can to get them out of office and see them get what is deserving of this bunch.

  • Yeah threaten the hockey community and threaten the diner what is the assembly up to they work for us they don’t tell us what they’re doing we tell them they all need to go

  • “The hockey community has received threats from Anchorage Assembly members that if it doesn’t actively support the mayor’s plan for purchasing “homeless hotels” then the ice rinks won’t be returned to recreational purposes.”

    The action of petty tyrants, not elected representatives of the people. If you can prove someone actually made that threat, I think a malpractice lawsuit is warranted.

  • Just left the demonstration at the Loussac. Brought my daughter and reminded her that she should support other sports so when they come after her sport they will support hers.

  • They our public servants. Plain and simple. Time for anchorage to step up the pressure on the clerks office to get the recall going on the first of these employees to recieve their termination notice

  • Play on the outdoor ice like we used to. That way people dont have to die sleeping outside. My neighborhood is so much quieter with the shelter in operation. Perhaps the LEDs would like to donate some food and supplies.

    • Outdoor ice is going away. ASD removed the outdoor ice at Bayshore elementary this summer. No reason given. Cheers –

    • Perhaps you could have some homeless so they don’t have to sleep outside and you can fund their needs.

    • You are aware that there are hockey leagues and camps during the summer right? Kinda hard to make ice when it’s 75 degrees outside.

  • The Ben Boeke and Sullivan Arena are some of the ugliest and worst placed buildings in Anchorage, I hope they never return to there normal function, they are a microcosm of everything wrong with the urban planning and design of this city.

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