ALBUQUERQUE, N.M —
When did Outpost Ice Arenas come to Albuquerque?
Stan Hubbard, owner: The Outpost was built in Sandia Heights by Bob and Pat Martin and opened in 1987 as an arena with one rink. In 2006, the Martin family expanded it by opening the second rink and introduced the first and only CooLLoop™ in which two National Hockey League-sized rinks were connected by training rinks that also served as curling rinks. When the NHL-sized rinks and training rinks are connected, the CooLLoop™ creates a regulation-sized speed skating track. My wife, Jennifer, and I bought the Outpost in 2018 when the Martins decided it was time to retire.
What’s your background on the ice?
Hubbard: I grew up in Minnesota skating and playing hockey. When we moved to Albuquerque in 2009, our oldest was 4 and asked if he could play hockey since he’d been skating for a couple of years already. We found the NM Ice Hockey Foundation and the Outpost Ice Arenas and have been a part of the Outpost on a regular basis since then.
What draws people to ice sports?
Hubbard: Ice sports are all fast, fun, and exciting. Flashing metal blades allow all participants to move quickly, provide great exercise, and keep participants cool in our hot summers.
What types of sports and activities take place at the Outpost?
Hubbard: Outpost is the home to all ice sports in New Mexico. We have recreational public skating, figure skating, hockey leagues for youth and adults of all ages and abilities, curling, speed skating, and we are home to the New Mexico Ice Wolves of the North American Hockey League (NAHL)! The Outpost is also home to Chilly’s Pro Shop, the state’s only skate and hockey shop, providing professional skate fitting with all major brands for hockey and figure skating.
Do you have classes and training for learning the sports?
Hubbard: Yes. The Outpost offers Learn to Skate classes, camps and clinics for youth and adult hockey, opportunities to learn the sport of curling, and figure skating instruction.
What ages of people use the rink?
Hubbard: We have skaters at the Outpost from about 2 years old up through older people who it would be rude to ask their ages. Organized youth hockey starts with kids as young as 4 years old playing Mini-Mites and figure skating even has Silver Skater sessions that are specifically for older skaters.
Do many people go for open skating? Is it a good form of exercise?
Hubbard: With public skating sessions running all year round, we have about 100,000 participants every year. Some come for fun, some for exercise or a new experience, and we like to say that date night is skate night!
The Outpost is the home to the New Mexico Ice Wolves, a junior hockey team in the South Division of the North American Hockey League. Can you please share some information about the team?
Hubbard: In ice hockey, very few players go right to college hockey from high school. The vast, vast majority take a year or two to play junior hockey as their path to Division I or III college hockey. More young hockey players make it to college hockey through the NAHL than from any other league in the world, so some of the best 17- to 20-year-old hockey players in the world pass through the NAHL and play right here in Albuquerque.
Would you say ice-based sports can be life changing?
Hubbard: One of our sons plays sled hockey which is the equivalent of wheelchair basketball so I know firsthand that hockey can be life changing for kids and people of every age and ability. All ice sports, beyond the recreational part, require a discipline and commitment that keeps kids on a good path and helps them develop into fine young adults.
What skills — physical or mental — are enhanced by ice sports?
Hubbard: We all know that physical exercise is important to our health and well-being. Ice sports are perfect for every level of exercise or athletic ambition.
Are there any notable athletes who have trained at the Outpost?
Hubbard: A few of our New Mexico Ice Wolves players have already moved on to Division I college hockey. Here are some players we will be able to follow in the months and years ahead: Josh Graziano, Notre Dame; Peter Muzyka, Cornell; Keegan Langefels, Canisius College; and Joey Larson, University of Northern Michigan. The list continues to grow and grow.
Are there spectator sports at the Outpost that fans can watch?
Hubbard: Yes. With the New Mexico Ice Wolves playing 28 regular season home games, there are lots of opportunities to experience the speed and thrill of watching some of the best hockey available anywhere. The UNM Lobos have a good club level hockey team that also practices and plays here. In addition, our website and social media give information on figure skating events and youth hockey games that happen throughout the year.
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