Minnesota Hockey Journal

January/February 2024

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Page 19 of 31

Photos / United Heroes League The Rink The Rink of Dreams of Dreams IT COULDN'T HAVE COME TOGETHER ANY BETTER. On a brisk fall day in November, an outdoor rink's grand opening was celebrated by thousands in the southeast metro of Hastings. Except this wasn't just any day in November, and it wasn't just any rink. No, this was the Scheels Rink at United Heroes League, offering an exquisite outdoor space for military kids and families, and the surrounding communities, as part of a larger sports complex in the future. The date wasn't random either, with the ribbon cutting for Scheels Rink taking place on Veterans Day to honor those who served and continued to serve in any capacity. "It was an amazing day and event, and just to see this rink, a rink of our dreams, finally come together and be put to use by our mili- tary families and veteran players," explained CEO and Founder of United Heroes League, Shane Hudella. "As somebody that served in the army for 24 years, it's pretty special to be able to give back to the veteran community." Scheels Rink is just the beginning of a great project on the horizon for the Hastings space which began in 2020. After building a Heroes Monument in 2021, ground broke on the rink in 2022. Eventually the entire area will expand as part of the Tradition Veterans Complex. "In 2025, a football field and a soccer field. The summer of 2026 we will break ground on an 80,000-square foot facility that will have an indoor rink, a basketball court, turf field, batting cages, a bigger warehouse to service military families with our equipment program, office space, and all kinds of good things," said Hudella. "We're super excited with what we're trying to do, and that's building the nation's first sports complex for military kids and families. Just our heritage and roots, initially Defending the Blue Line, and now United Heroes League, it made sense that our first big sports component would be an outdoor refrigerated rink." The rink was christened with hundreds of stories on opening day. There was Erik Mossberg, a military veteran who lost his left leg while on duty. With the help of UHL, Bauer and a prosthetics manufacturer, United Heroes League unveils brand-new rink for military families BY J E S S I P I E R C E M H J ON L I N E . C O M | J A N / F E B 2 0 2 4 20

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