The Spooner Ice House is a very unique building. It is made up of several parts, including Jersey’s Sports Bar & Grill, Jersey’s Banquets & Event Center, Ice House Fitness and the rink. It is home to our community teams, Spooner Rails youth hockey, Wisconsin Wilderness Junior A hockey and the Northwest Figure Skaters Club.
It also donates space to Spooner organizations such as the Spooner Chamber of Commerce and the local Boy Scouts and ice to the children at St. Francis Catholic School. It provides jobs to over 40 people in the area, it sends young men to good colleges through the Wisconsin Wilderness Hockey program and is an integral part of Spooner’s economy with it’s many tournaments, hockey games, practices and events.
This last Sunday the owners of the Ice House, Lars and Katie Geary, had to close the doors. Lars Geary grew up in Spooner, WI and played hockey his whole life, part of that career here at the Ice House. While living in Chicago, the Gearys came back to Spooner to visit family and attend a wedding at the Ice House. It was here they found out that the building was for sale. Lars was ecstatic, he had always wanted a reason to return to Spooner and raise his family here and more importantly he had the chance to save the Spooner Rails hockey program that he once played for.
They sold everything they had from their life in Chicago and traded it in to purchase the Ice House. Over the last 2 years they put their blood, sweat and tears into brining this building and community back to life by keeping hockey alive in Spooner. With little to no investment money and major set backs in repairs to the zamboni and rink, making the necessary energy upgrades to the building is nearly impossible. Without those upgrades, the building will continue to draw more power then it needs therefore making the cost of its utilities more than the building is capable of supporting.
The Gearys were able to operate for nearly 2 years losing money every month or nearly breaking even. They were able also to make some necessary upgrades to the building but not nearly what is needed to increase the buildings efficiency. What they have learned in the last 2 years is that this place, believe it or not, CAN work, they just fell short financially. If they are able to raise the funds to make the necessary upgrades, the building can reopen and be kept open for the community who needs it so much.
This facility is the hub of spooner. The economic impact on this town is enormous. Its has drawn over 25,000 people from out of town into our town in one year. These people are renting hotel rooms, eating at our restaurants, filling up their cars with gas at our gas stations, buying a dozen doughnuts at the bakery or a patio chair for the cabin at one of our shops. The fact is the facility is here and the community needs it.
The Gearys will continue to fight for this project as we care deeply for this community and its future. Please share their story with whoever you can and help save the Spooner Ice House!
“I came home and took on this project for one reason and that was to save the Spooner Rails hockey program and now I know it’s much bigger then that.” – Owner, Lars Geary