Brandon, SD is a small town nestled right outside of Sioux Falls, SD. We thrive on community, teamwork and simply helping our friends and neighbors. A large youth population calls Brandon home, enrolling over 3,000 kids in our school system. Our traditional school sanctioned athletic programs and unsanctioned sports play a huge role in Brandon. We take great pride in our community and the multiple opportunities our kids have in academics, athletics and otherwise.
In 2011, a group of parents first brought hockey to Brandon, SD. They worked with the city, raised funds, pitched in much of their own money and an abundance of their own labor to build an outdoor hockey rink. There were only about 8 players on one, combined-age team that very first year. It was a humble beginning, but it was the seed for something destined to be great.
Our Hockey Family Today
Our membership has grown rapidly to over 100 youth athletes spread across 7 age groups. While that number may not sound like much, it’s those kids plus their family and friends who support them and who have a true passion for this sport. In a town of just over 10,000, that adds up quick! To keep up with our growing membership, a second outdoor refrigerated hockey rink was completed in 2017. This rink was built largely by our own families--offering up their time, sweat, and money—and with the amazing support of several local businesses.
We LOVE playing hockey outdoors. Our ice rinks are cherished not only because they are outside but because there’s blood, sweat and tears shed here--and not only during the hockey games. But we have a problem. Conditions outdoors are not always ideal. Sub-zero wind chills and heavy snows make it challenging to have practices and games consistently. And even with a refrigeration system, activities have to be cancelled because the weather is too warm and sunny.
Do you know that ice hockey is unique from many other sports? You see, having the ability to ice skate is the ONE MAIN skill needed to play & be competitive. Many other sports are based upon the ability to run or move your legs. Running is a skill almost all of us learn when we are very young and it can be done just about anywhere, inside or outside. Being able to ice skate well--and improve that skill--requires numerous hours of consistent practice on the ice.
Compounding the challenging weather conditions is the location of the rinks—they are in a flood plain. We had to prepare for record flooding the spring of 2019. This required evacuating as much as was possible and then sandbagging the remaining structures. The work required significant effort by numerous volunteers to fill and place around 10,000 sandbags! Thankfully, we are so very blessed with a community who rallied to help us. It was extremely humbling to witness the outpouring of support from other hockey associations, our nearby communities and from volunteers who came from many miles away to help. We even had offers from volunteers who live 300+ miles away!
The solution to our problem? An indoor ice rink. This facility will give us a much-needed home, protected from the elements, and the means to continue growing. We have been working hard to make this dream a reality. Unfortunately, such a facility comes with a BIG price tag. Although we do hold fundraising events throughout the year, most of these funds are used to operate our association.
South Dakota isn’t exactly known as a hockey hotbed—at least not yet—but this close-knit family in Brandon has laid a strong foundation. We are determined to spread the hockey spirit in our town and region. This is just the beginning of hockey in Brandon. There are great things in store for us.
Come join us on our journey!
The "Dream" That Started It All
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Sometimes it's too warm & the ice melts
SD winters can be pretty darn cold