The Ice Sports Area plans on getting an electric Zamboni in June 2024.

The Ice Sports Area plans on getting an electric Zamboni in June 2024.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Ice Sports Arena turns 50

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 10, 2023


BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Ice Sports Arena, 2300 E. Lincoln, celebrated 50 years in September.

For half a century, the Birmingham Ice Sports Arena has maintained a strong presence in the community and has offered various programs for kids and adults.

In addition to lessons, hockey games, open skating and figure skating shows, some members of the community have chosen to share precious moments at the Birmingham Ice Sports Arena, such as birthdays and even engagements.

Birmingham Recreation Coordinator Connie Folk shared how the community embraced the Ice Sports Arena from the early days.

“Since it was the only arena in the area at the time and because we didn’t have all the other facilities that have been built in the last 15 years, it was sort of a place for teens to gather and enjoy themselves somewhere that was like a community center, but it was with an ice arena,” Folk said.

Folk has been with the city of Birmingham for 33 years and with the Ice Sports Arena for close to 30 years.

“It is still the heart of the city,” Folk said.

Folk’s inlaws are responsible for starting both the Birmingham Hockey Association and the Figure Skating Club of Birmingham in 1973. These programs continue to thrive at the Ice Sports Arena.

More recently,  the Ice Sports Arena has become the home rink for Birmingham high school hockey, the Birmingham Unified Kings, and Birmingham high school figure skating, the Girls Birmingham Unified Varsity High School Figure Skating Team.

The Ice Sports Arena also runs its own programs, such as its successful Learn to Skate program. Just last year, they had 365 participants in the program. They were recently recognized by U.S. Figure Skating and ranked 11th in Michigan.

Every year, the Ice Sports Arena hosts the annual Birmingham Ice Show, which features children in the Learn to Skate program and the figure skating program.

The Ice Sports Arena is now open year round, allowing them to offer more camps and open skates.

“Our facility is extremely clean. People come here from other states and other communities and they walk in and they can’t believe that the arena’s 50 years old because it looks like it’s brand new,” Folk said. “I have a very small crew, but they also take pride in their work.”

The Ice Sports Arena has some exciting plans for the upcoming season and next year.

For the first time ever, the Ice Sports Arena planned to host some Oakland University College Hockey games.

They also plan to get an electric Zamboni in June 2024.

Folk, and Parks and Recreation Manager Carrie Laird encourage people to check out upcoming events at the Ice Sports Arena in the coming year, especially high school games starting in November.

“It’s a fun atmosphere, and it is very community-oriented,” Laird said. “People feel comfortable here, and we welcome them.”