TUCSON, ARIZONA — The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Board gave a unanimous green light to a donation being offered by EMPowerplay, the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners to build a multipurpose outdoor DEK rink at Doolen Middle School at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

Mark Irvin, CCIM, SIOR, of Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Services and on the Emeritus Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Tucson, moderated the presentation for the youth sports initiative joint project at the meeting.  Irvin also sits on the Rio Nuevo Board as its Vice Chair/Secretary and was instrumental in helping bring the Roadrunners to Tucson.

The Coyotes, Roadrunners and EMPowerplay partners are intrinsically involved in developing Hockey and youth sports throughout the region and are committed to not only the growth of local hockey, but the development of the program itself and being part of the bigger picture of Tucson youth sports – this not only helps encourage new local participation but exponentially increases the chances of overall success in the region.

In order to achieve this, the DEK initiative removes the need for expensive equipment needed to play hockey and can say: no  ice, no skates, no problem – everyone plays!

Much like TUSD and the City of Tucson itself, the Coyotes, Roadrunners and initiative partners are beyond willing to take the necessary measures and make the needed sacrifices to ensure not only the success of programs like this, but more importantly, the health and well-being of young athletes and community participants.

“This is the first of what we hope are many DEK rinks scattered across Tucson,” said Irvin. “We are exploring similar opportunities with the YMCA and are open to others, especially those with groups who are impacting youth.  Mayor Rothschild has been invaluable as has TUSD Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo and Michael Konrad, the Director of middle schools. They all share a similar and contagious passion for youth.  It’s great to work with the Mayor on something other than Rio Nuevo.  He gets it.  The Boys and Girls Clubs, which will administer the facility, will be outstanding.”

With these goals in mind, the first multipurpose outdoor DEK rink will be built at Doolen Middle School at 2400 N Country Club Road in Tucson, which already houses a Boys & Girls Club Club. The multipurpose rink can be used for other sports besides hockey, including basketball, pickle ball, even volleyball. The project partners, strategy and business development leaders hope to evolve a DEK hockey league system, with multiple locations throughout Tucson including clinics with Roadrunner players.

Construction time for the multipurpose rink is expected to be 8-weeks, once final administrative details are secured, at a final cost to the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners of $195,000, with no cost to TUSD, as part of the private-public partnership.

To learn more, the DEK Hockey Initiative as presented can be found HERE.