Not just for kicks

‘Mac’ addition is now open for business



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From left, McDonald Center manager Reid McDonald, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, Carole McDonald, Rep. Bill Stoltze and Anchorage Parks and Rec Director John Rodda were the guests of honor during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 29 for the refurbished Harry McDonald Center in Eagle River. Carole McDonald is the widow of the building’s namesake, while Reid McDonald is the elder McDonald’s son.

MATT TUNSETH

Pucks and sticks have been joined by corner kicks at the Harry McDonald Center in Eagle River, which officially opened a new 27,000-foot addition with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 29.

“It really makes this a much more complete facility,” said Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan during the ceremony, which was held in front of a large mural featuring photos of the facility’s namesake.

“That’s the kind of 1 percent for art I like,” quipped Rep. Bill Stoltze

Stoltze, a former student of the late Chugiak High teacher and founding member of the Anchorage-area hockey community, said McDonald would have been proud.

“What an honor to be here at ‘Coach Mac’s Place,’” he said.

The new addition adds a large turf field and running track to the existing 38,000-foot ice arena, which was built in 1984. The state and municipality shared the cost of the $6 million upgrade project, which was completed earlier this fall.

Many members of McDonald’s family were in attendance at the ceremony, including his son, Reid McDonald, who manages the facility, and his widow, Carole McDonald, who cut the ribbon in honor of her late husband.

Harry McDonald died in a plane crash in 1994.

As Carole cut the ribbon, the large crowd gathered inside the new main entrance let out the first of what’s likely to be many more cheers inside the center.

Sullivan said the addition to the turf side gives folks another recreation opportunity during Alaska’s dark months.

“During long winter months there’s a place to come and play and run,” he said.

Parks and Recreation director John Rodda said the renovated facility will allow more people to take advantage of recreation opportunities in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“How much better can we have it?” he asked.

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