“We got lots of community support, it really felt good to know that the North Metro really cares about us,” said Curling Director John Benton. “Thankfully that got us through. It was kind of enough money to create a bridge between the PPP loans to keep a few people on staff and keep the lights on.”
Now Benton says hockey has come back strong. This is home ice for Blaine and Spring Lake Park High Schools. The recent opening of a new restaurant where the former “Sticks and Stones” closed just over a year ago is another step toward recovery. It is now “Moe’s at the Ice House,” an expansion from “Moe’s American Grill” restaurant in Mounds View.
“The idea to come over here was a unique opportunity to be involved in, really a one of a kind opportunity with curling, six sheets of ice and the two hockey rinks and a bar restaurant set up inside those two entities,” said restaurant operator Jeff Moritko. “It’s kind of a fun opportunity for us as an operator.”
With a great view of the curling venue, and two hockey rinks just down the hallway, Jeff Moritko says there are only a couple other places like it in the country. The hope is people will drop in to the restaurant between hockey games or during curling.
“You know success for us is just this concept of can we partner well with curling and hockey? Can we provide quick service, not full service dining, but quick service with creative items and quality foods, and can we do that in a friendly environment? That’s really what success is. It’s not dollar and cents,” said Moritko.
Having the restaurant re-opened is also a boost for the non-profit arena.
“A big part of the game of curling is the social aspect at its heart it’s a recreational game,” said Benton. “We don’t play at the Olympic level in leagues so having a beverage and a meal after the game with your opponents, is a big part of the sport so having that back is going to be really, really big.”
Benton says the draw of the Olympics coming in February, is also expected to help generate more interest in curling and hockey.