Supporters of Eagle River hockey and the historic Dome have launched a project to bring attention to the fundraising campaign to raise about $1.5 million for a new cooling system at the Eagle River Sports Arena. 

Organizers launched “Save the Dome” and are selling apparel and decals at events held at the Sports Arena, according to Gen Hicks, who is spreading the word about the effort. 

David Sookochoff designed both logos on the apparel to help raise money for saving the dome. 

Items were sold during the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships and at the Falcons games Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone wanting to purchase a “Save the Dome” decal or “The Dome” apparel can contact Hicks via Facebook or email at gen@boatsport.com.

The apparel includes long-sleeve and short-sleeve T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. Decals and koozies also are available.

Hicks said Eagle River Tire sponsored the decals and koozies, therefore, any of those items sold will be profit for the Dome.

There is still apparel available and if anyone would like some, they can contact Hicks.

“We are hoping to place another order if we’re able to sell our inventory, but obviously we will also order if we have enough interest,” said Hicks.

Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA) announced in December that it had kicked off a $1.5 million capital campaign to raise funds to replace the failing artificial ice plant and in-concrete piping in the historic Eagle River Sports Arena.

Members of the capital campaign committee told the News-Review that the entire system must be replaced by the beginning of the next hockey and figure skating season or the ERRA risks losing skating events in the building known to many as the “Dome” or “Stadium.”

Heading up the fundraising committee are Jerry Burkett, along with Tom Obrodovich, Alan Geiger and Phil Hahn.

“Our ice plant is at the end of its life. It’s over 50 years old,” said Burkett. “We’ve had some minor problems with it and you are dealing with chemicals. We’ve got one year to replace this. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants it replaced.”

Burkett said the cost estimates to replace the system are anywhere from $1.2 to $1.5 million. If monies are available, the effort could be expanded to complete other projects at the Sports Arena.

Obrodovich and Burkett said if the ERRA doesn’t get the cooling system project completed this summer, there may not be any ice in the Dome next winter. 

Donations for the project can made at Nicolet National Bank under “Save the Dome,” P.O. Box 1599, Eagle River, WI 54521, or online at erra.com.

In the meantime, Eagle River hockey fans are urged to get involved by purchasing “Save the Dome” decals and apparel to spread the word.