The Daily Telegram Profiles Arrington Arena in "Adrian College to Celebrate Successful First Decade of Ice Sports"

The Daily Telegram Profiles Arrington Arena in "Adrian College to Celebrate Successful First Decade of Ice Sports"

ADRIAN, Mich.--Back when Arrington Ice Arena was a mound of dirt, Adam Krug sat in his car at the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center.

He was being recruited by Ron Fogarty, Adrian College's first men's hockey head coach.

Fogarty was in Ottawa, Ontario, the day before and drove through the night to beat Krug to the Merillat, showered and met up with Krug.

“(Fogarty) pointed over to what was just a mound of dirt,” said Krug, the current men's hockey coach. “He said, ‘That's where the rink is going to be', and I believed what I saw. I saw blueprints of the rink, and my day on campus that day showed me this was a place I could spend a lot of time.”

On Oct. 19, 2007, Arrington Ice Arena was opened for business, and the Bulldogs' men's hockey team took care of business, beating Potsdam State 9-1.

Ten years later, Adrian College is preparing to celebrate Arrington Ice Arena and what the building has brought to campus in its first decade.

Bringing an ice arena was a vision created by Adrian president Jeffery Docking. Since Arrington Ice Arena has been built, Adrian College has seen an increase in enrollment, and athletic director Mike Duffy believes the arena has played a major role in the school's growth.

“(Docking) came here, and we discussed it,” Duffy said. “We were looking for ways to not enhance what we already had, but how could we bring students who wouldn't go here to go here.

“We looked, and he thought we could put a hockey arena here. Michigan has a lot of hockey roots. We started with one club team and NCAA men's and women's teams. Now there are 300 students in just ice sports that wouldn't be here if not for it. It's amazing how many students are here that aren't in any athletics, but they come here because we have an ice arena on campus. It has paid for itself 10 times over.”

The arena plays host to two NCAA Division III powers with the Adrian College men's and women's hockey teams, three club men's teams, a club women's team, synchronized skating and figure skating.

The Bulldogs' men's hockey program was an instant success.

They've gone 215-31-14, won eight conference titles, gone to six NCAA tournaments, two semifinals and have one Division III runner-up finish. Adrian has also never won fewer than 20 games in a season.

The women's hockey program has gone 163-64-17, won back-to-back conference titles and has gone to three NCAA tournaments.

A big part of the success is the home-ice advantage Arrington Ice Arena provides for the Bulldogs.

“(Arrington Ice Arena) in our conference is the nicest rink,” said women's hockey coach Chad Davis. “I think it has a good feel to it and good people in it.

“When student-athletes come on their visit, they experience that and really feel what it's really about and see all the championship banners from both programs. There is something special about that.”

Women's synchronized skating also calls Arrington home, and the program has recently made a name for itself nationally and internationally.

Adrian College finished seventh in the 22nd Spring Cup in Milan, Italy, and was one of only two teams chosen to represent the United State at the competition.

The program also finished last season with a top-five finish at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships held in Kalamazoo.

“It's overwhelming at times,” Duffy said. “It's exciting that we've done the right things and (the programs) continue to grow and excel. It's overwhelming the accolades and the things we've done with our ice sports.”

--Kristopher Lodes, Daily Telegram Sports Writer