Why is the Wisconsin Hockey HOF in Eagle River?
Posted By: Aaron Sims
In ten days, the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame will induct three new members. John Galloway, Kurt Steiner and Skip Semandel will join luminaries such as Mark Johnson, Jeff Sauer and many others.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society
, the first high school hockey team was formed in 1926 in order to promote winter tourism in Eagle River. Shortly thereafter, Charles E. Taylor, a leader of the Eagle River community and supporter of hockey, brought forth the concept to build a stadium that would provide entertainment and recreation for the town. His idea came to life in 1933 with the construction of the Eagle River Stadium. The sports arena brought a great sense of pride and unity to the town. Members of the community raised $25,000 to build the stadium on five acres of land donated by Taylor.
The stadium employed an innovative structural system resulting in its unique elongated dome-shaped roof. Its lamella truss roof consists of a network of wood rafters forming interlocking diamond shapes. This distinctive engineering method results in a geometrically stable form built relatively cheap with easily worked material. The lamella technique was used for its ability to span great widths, creating wide-open space for spectators. Its architect, a real American innovator named Max Hanisch
, was responsible for introducing the lamella truss to Wisconsin. The Ice Arena, featuring the unique 280 foot by 180 foot elongated dome shaped wooden roof structure, was one of only three hockey arenas in the country built with that type roof structure and the only one still standing today.
The location of the stadium and its surroundings were intended to be a winter sports center. The site also included a ski jump, a toboggan slide and a lake used for hockey before the indoor rink was in place. The Eagle River Stadium was the first indoor hockey arena in Wisconsin. In 1980 it was named the 'Hockey Capitol of Wisconsin' and in 1983 it became home of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.
It is home to the local High School hockey team (Northland Pines Eagles) and a semi-pro hockey team (Eagle River Falcons of the Great Lake Hockey League). It is affectionately referred to as the "Old Barn". The ERSA seats roughly 2,000 people.
It is constructed mainly of wood and has only received major renovations once. In 1963-1964 new locker rooms, inside plumbing, and a concession stand were added.
Prior to official WIAA involvement in hockey, the Madison schools conducted an invitational from 1964 to 1970 (except for 1966). Eagle River (now Northland Pines) won the first championship. The high school team has appeared in 19 WIAA State Tournaments and won three titles. The Northland Pines girls team has appeared at the State Tourney twice.
Next summer, if you have something like a “stay-cation”, maybe you’d like to check out the history of the great sport in this great state.
Nashville has made a couple of fine moves the last couple days to get a pair of talented defenseman. Aaron Johnson was signed as a free agent yesterday
to provide depth and, perhaps, more offense to the Preds’ blueline. One stat I like is his +19 in the 2008-09 season with the Blackhawks (38 games). Johnson is a former AHL All-Star and won two Memorial Cups with Rimouski and Quebec.
The Predators also traded forward Ian McKenzie to Atlanta for defenseman Grant Lewis
. Lewis and former Admirals forward Hugh Jessiman were roommates in college at Dartmouth. Lewis is also great friends with current Admirals defenseman Scott Lehman. From what I’ve seen of Lewis the last few years, he makes good passes and can add an offensive element to the Admirals. While I like Ian McKenzie personally, things didn’t work out for him here. He’s a big-bodied forward that didn’t play like one on a consistent basis.