BOZEMAN — Mike Eruzione, one of the most famous names in ice hockey, will be in Bozeman this weekend to help support the Gallatin Ice Foundation’s fundraising efforts as part of their “Finish the Barn” campaign to create a 1,500-seat arena at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
“We have a gala each year and we normally have a keynote speaker, and we thought, ‘What more fitting than to have Mike Eruzione come?’ Gold medalist, that’s wonderful to help build the hockey community, bring in actual world-renowned player and allow people to meet with him,” said Jeffrey Moore, the philanthropy director for the Gallatin Ice Foundation.
Eruzione will be the highlight of the weekend, which consists of three separate events — one on Friday evening and two on Saturday.
“The Midtown Tavern event starts on April 5 from 7-9 p.m., that was donated by the Midtown Tavern, which is where we’re going to have 50 people come and do a very intimate meet-and-greet with Eruzione,” Moore said. “It will be around 7 o’clock, we’ll meet, talk and ask questions, potentially get autographs and photos, and then at 8 o’clock there will be a formal Q&A, so you can ask Mike Eruzione what it felt like to be on the ice, to collect the puck and shoot the puck in the net to win the gold medal. This has been promoted to companies (around Bozeman) as promotions for successful project managers, sales people, people that are gold medal employees can come to this event. We were kind of promoting that businesses could purchase these tickets for them and send them, as it’s all-inclusive. They just show up and enjoy the evening with Mike.”
“The second event that we have is the senior center showing of Miracle, and that’s open to the first 300 people, anywhere, anyone can come to the senior center. The doors open at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 and the move will start at 11 a.m. and should wrap up around 1:15 p.m,” Moore continued. “Mike Eruzione, this will be really compelling, they’ll finish up the movie, score the goal, win the gold, the movie will conclude and we’ll say, ‘Wasn’t that inspirational? Hey, by the way, here’s Mike Eruzione right here,’ and he’ll walk out on stage right then, do a quick Q&A with the youth and parents. We’ll have food and drinks for everyone there, that’s all-inclusive, as well. Again, that’s no charge, you just sign up online and we have that link for you.”
“The third event, and this is kind of the main event, is the Gloves Off Gala,” said Moore. “The Gloves Off Gala is a fundraising event that we’ve put on for the last nine years, next year will be the 10th year, definitely a black-tie affair. This ninth year is a cabin chic kind of theme. We’ll have around 300 people from the Bozeman area come and participate, we have a live auction, a silent auction, we have really good food. That’s going to be held at The Commons out here on Baxter Lane and that starts at, 6 p.m. is when the doors open and everything gets going between 6:30-7 p.m.”
Tickets are available to all three events, which can be purchased through the Gallatin Ice Foundation website by clicking here. Saturday morning’s free showing of Miracle also requires registering through the foundation’s website.
The weekend’s events are the latest in the Gallatin Ice Foundation’s vision for a new, state-of-the-art arena in downtown Bozeman. Moore says the ultimate goal is to raise the funds needed in 2019, which would allow the projects to begin the following year.
“The reason we’re doing this fundraiser, the Gloves Off Gala, is to finish the Ice Barn. In 2017 we ‘Raised the Ice Barn,’ that was our campaign, and we actually built the shell of a building, it’s uninsulated, but we were able to activate an ice rink within that ice barn structure. That ice rink is the Ressler Motors Ice Rink,” said Moore. “Now all of our programs are full with that, it’s a really great success, but now what we’re working on is insulating the building and really increasing the viewer experience. What that looks like is a 1,500-seat arena, mezzanine, restaurant, offices, four new locker rooms, a new concessions and entryway, a women’s-only locker room, finally, which we’ve been shooting for, a referee’s locker room, which will be really nice.
“We really developed the Ice Barn, Haynes Pavilion and our Bozeman hockey complex into a regional gem. We want this to be a regional resource for all of the ice community (like) Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, creeping down into Utah. With the recent success of the Montana State University Bobcats’ team, with the Icedogs team having success, as well, we’re really looking forward to filling these seats, having a 1,500-sold out MSU Bobcat hockey crowd right here in the center of downtown Bozeman.”
Moore says hockey would be a large draw for the new arena, but there are numerous programs that would also benefit from the space.
“From sort of a tourism and economic development standpoint, with four additional months here at the rink, we can promote summer programs,” said Moore. “Some of the ideas are a blue-ribbon youth development camp where parents drop the kids off to practice skating, play hockey, practice figure skating, do a development camp of some kind, while they go fishing on the Madison, the Jefferson and the Gallatin. It would be a real blue-ribbon hockey camp or blue-ribbon figure skating camp.
“I also like the idea of maybe doing something with Eagle Mount, sled hockey, where maybe the Wounded Warrior program could come here for sled hockey in the morning and then transition to fly fishing in the afternoon. I think it’s also compelling to have year-round ice for the figure skating community. That’s what it really hinges on, that’s what that program needs, so it would really develop more popularity to the figure skating program when we can offer it year-round and people always have access to ice.”