Hockey supporters in the Eagle River area have drummed up numerous ways to raise money for the Save the Dome campaign, ranging from the sale of historic photos to fundraising events at local supper clubs.

The Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA) is trying to raise $774,000 to make major renovations at the Eagle River Sports Arena, known as the Dome. The project includes replacing the failing in-floor cooling system in the facility, erecting new boards and glass around the rink, as well as several other renovations at the historic facility.

The latest fundraising idea comes from Don Bradford of the 1963-’64 State Championship Eagle River High School hockey team. Bradford, captain of the 1964 State Champions, wants to challenge the other four State Championship teams from Eagle River/Northland Pines to see which team can raise the most money for the Save the Dome campaign this month.

The other Eagle River High School State Championship hockey team was in 1959’-60, and the three Northland Pines High School State hockey titles came in 1983-’84, 1985-’86 and 1988-’89.

Teammates, family members and friends of the championships teams are asked to donate to Save the Dome in the name of their favorite team. The team which raises the most money will be affectionately known as the Save the Dome Championship Team.

The challenge will run now through Oct. 31 and all donations will be matched up to $20,000 by the Sparks family Save the Dome challenge currently underway and running through the end of October.

The Sparks family announced earlier this month it would match up to $20,000 of donations collected from the community during the month in honor of Bill Sparks Sr.

Sparks, an ERRA founding father, was committed to growing youth hockey in Eagle River throughout his lifetime. He volunteered endlessly, working on projects in the Dome, including the original artificial ice installation and improvements. He also pioneered the Summer ERRA Hockey School and worked as a member of the school board to bring back high school hockey in 1969. That push eventually resulted in the three Northland Pines State Hockey Championships in the 1980s.

The ERRA kicked off its fundraising campaign in December of 2018 and has raised more than $349,000 as of last week. The ERRA was given a $200,000 loan to get the project started and a group of nine local community members have signed a second $350,000 loan to make sure the project is completed by Nov. 1 — the approximate start of the 2019-’20 hockey and figure skating season.