The Forum at Fishers ice arena has new ownership, which plans to plow $2.5 million into a renovation.
Indiana Ice Arenas LLC, an affiliate of minor league hockey team Indy Fuel, on Wednesday finalized the $1.85 million purchase of the ice rink from Center Ice Development LLC.
The Fishers City Council approved a request in June to waive the $402,443 mortgage on the property in return for a commitment from Indiana Ice Arenas to invest at least $2 million in the facility. The arena, at 9022 E. 126th St., west of State Road 37, was owned by Center Ice Development but was on city land.
Indy Fuel CEO Sean Hallett said the $2.5 million renovation includes expanding the parking lot, installing new skate-resistant flooring, replacing outdated fixtures and upgrading food offerings. In addition, a 5,000-square-foot mezzanine that's currently unused will become a fitness center.
“Basically at the end of the day, it should look like a new facility,” Hallett said.
It will be renamed Fuel Tank at Fishers.
The renovation is expected to be completed in October.
Hallett said that someday the venue might be used for Indy Fuel practices, though for now the team will continue to practice at the Indiana State Fairgrounds' Youth Arena, which is adjacent to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, where the team plays its games.
He said Indiana Ice Arenas purchased the rink to create more opportunities for youth hockey.
“Yes, it’s branded with the Fuel,” Hallett said. “But it’s a standalone business.”
Hallett's brother, Chad Hallett, will serve as general manager for the facility.
Excess land on the property could be used for a 20-unit housing complex for Indy Fuel players, Hallett said, but that won’t come together for a year.
The arena is currently home to Circle City Curling Club, Hamilton Southeastern Hockey, Ball State Hockey, Westfield Ice Rocks, Fishers Figure Skating Club, Elite Skating School, Fishers Youth Hockey Association and Central Indiana Knights.
“It is our intention to keep those programs in place,” Hallett said.
“At the end of the day, we feel there is a shortage of ice,” Hallett said.
Under the new ownership, the arena will offer summer hockey camps along with entry-level programs for youth hockey players.
“We have the demographics. We have the people,” Hallett said. “It’s just that someone has to improve the programs.”
Other ice rinks in Hamilton County include the Carmel Ice Skadium and The Arctic Zone in Westfield.
Hallett said initial plans called for closing the ice rink during renovations, but it will remain open.
“Customers told us very quickly that they needed the ice this summer,” Hallett said. “Which kind of just reinforces the demand.”