The Pullar Stadium, the oldest ice arena in the Sault, was completed in December of 1939 at a cost of $181,000.00. The stadium was considered “state of the art”at that time. The project was made possible by a bequest of $70,000.00 in the will of Sophie Nolte Pullar.
The Pullar Stadium contains 1,190,000 cubic feet of space. Embedded in the 5 ½ inch arena floor, which lays directly on the grounds without insulation, is 51,000 feet (9.6 miles) of one inch pipe with an additional mile of pipe in the machine room. The original refrigeration system required 36,000 pounds of calcium chloride to change the brine system.
In the early days, the Pullar ice rentals where $3.00 an hour, today the price has increased immensely.
The Pullar Stadium was officially dedicated during the third annual Upper Peninsula Winter Carnival, which was hosted by Sault Ste. Marie in mid February, 1940. The arena’s first show “Under Two Flags” was the centerpiece of the carnival.
The Pullar Stadium was one of the few rinks in the world to have summer ice, and the skating club hosted the many visiting skaters who attended the first summer skating session.
The Pullar Community Building has served the needs of many participants involved in figure skating, ice hockey, Toughman – Toughwoman competitions. The Detroit Red Wings even used the Pullar for a training camp! The Pullar Stadium has been used for teen dances, a “roller rink”, graduation ceremonies, “water follies” in the late 60’s large dances and “big bands” and is still being used as a site for visiting circuses.
The Detroit Red Wings greats such as Gordie Howe, Ed Lindsay, Sid Able and Alex Delvechio skated at the Pullar Stadium. Also skating where the Lake Superior State University “Lakers”, and the “Soo Indians”. Currently organizations who use the arena are the Hiawatha Skating Club, LSSU Lakers, Sault High Blue Devils and the Sault Michigan Hockey Association along with various local men’s hockey leagues.
The Pullar is well known throughout Michigan for the “good” ice and takes pride in maintaining this tradition. Both adults and public skating times are offered during the week and on Sunday evenings for all to enjoy.
For more information on ice times and events call 906-632-6853
Taffy Abel Arena Clarence “Taffy” Abel Arena is the home of Laker Hockey. The arena has drawn rave reviews from opponents, the media and hockey fans throughout the country. Abel Arena was the dream of former athletic director/head coach Jeff Jackson. It has benefited not only the Lake State hockey team, but the entire athletic department, University, Sault Ste. Marie community and the Eastern Upper Peninsula. An ambitious undertaking, the “Gem of the North” project renovated the former James Norris Arena into a facility capable of holding events ranging from hockey to concerts, conventions and convocations. The reconstructed arena re-opened on Oct. 28, 1995. LSSU defeated Alaska Fairbanks 4-3 before 4,000 fans in the first game of the newly designed arena.
A major contribution from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians was the key component in the redesign of the home of Laker Hockey. The arena is named in honor of the late Sault Ste. Marie hockey legend, Clarence “Taffy” Abel, a Native American and the first player inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Abel retired from the National Hockey League with two Stanley Cup rings and the title of “Michigan Mountain.” Assistance from the Ilitch family, owners of the Detroit Red Wings, helped to complete the project. Among the features of Abel Arena: a full-bowl layout with 4,000 chair seats; expansion of the Laker Hockey locker room and weight room; creation of five full locker rooms for youth and visiting hockey teams; improved concession facilities; expanded, convenient restrooms; improved glass and dasherboards; 16 sky boxes; classroom and office space; a new press facility; and a pro shop. In 2003-04, the student cheering section will be moved to the north end of the rink so it will be more visible to the players on the bench.
The Soo Lakers, under the leadership of Lake Superior State College President Dr. Kenneth J. Shouldice and athletic director Ronald “Bud” Cooper, played their first varsity hockey season in 1966-67.
The Lakers joined the International Collegiate Hockey Association in 1967. Cooper guided the Lakers into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in 1972, which was a year after the CCHA was founded. He was also one of the key figures in establishing the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which played its inaugural season in 1972-73. Cooper’s involvement in Laker athletics has spanned 55 years. He retired as athletic director in 1986 after a 29-year stint, but is still active with the LSSU Sports Hall of Fame, Cager Club and other athletic department efforts.
To contact the arena call 906-635-2602 or for Online Box Office
This Ice Arena is located across from the Kewadin Casino here in Sault Ste Marie.
They have 2 ice rinks available for public skating and hockey games.
During the summer months one ice rink stays open year round for you and your family to enjoy ice skating on those raining days or any day in Sault Ste Marie Michigan.
For more information please call 1-800-588-rink or 906-635-7465