What was once just another basketball court is now being repurposed. This will be the first time the reservation has had an ice skating rink in 30 years.
“We want to give these kids a new opportunity to do something else. Who knows we might have the next Wayne Gretzky out here,” said Cyril Archambault.
Archambault is a basketball coach who thinks adding other sports will be healthy for the youth in his community. Anna-Lee Yellow Hammer, a youth leader, grew up on the reservation and says the youth welcome the new addition.
“In the 18 years I’ve been here, we’ve never really had things to do, just a basketball court. To have other things here on the reservation is dope because then we expand the knowledge of things and where you can take your career and want to be in life,” said Yellow Hammer.
The idea came up at a district committee meeting. Putting up the rink was a complete DIY project but with the help of a couple of community members and the Standing Rock Fire Department, they were able to get it together.
“Before this whole thing was covered in snow and it was really a moving moment when one of our local youth leaders came out on the court and started shoveling it off,” said Archambault.
The ice rink was paid for by actor Mark Ruffalo, better known as the Green Monster himself…the Hulk.
“He’s really invested in our community and our reservations. He reached out and asked what could I do to help you guys,” said Archambault.
As a basketball coach, Archambault has no knowledge about ice skating but is committed to learning.
And with this new adventure, the community says they’ll need certain items to get started.
“We have no skates. We didn’t think about it until we put the plan in motion until we put the rink up. We know nothing about hockey or ice skating but we’re here to learn and we’re going to do it together as a community,” said Archambault.
Dave Hanneman with Dickinson HockeyClub has set up skate donation stations all throughout North Dakota.
Contact Archambault at firstname.lastname@example.org for shipping information.