Tucson’s first DEK hockey rink went up in record time with donated labor and materials, thanks to a community-wide effort on the part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Roadrunners, Tucson Unified School District, and many others.
DEK hockey does not involve ice or skates, but instead is played in sneakers, on open-grid polypropylene tiles over concrete. It provides a way to learn the game without the expense of skates, padding, and time on the ice.
Tucson Roadrunners President Bob Hoffman looked forward to many more Tucsonans learning to love hockey as a result of this rink, which the Arizona Coyotes and the Tucson Roadrunners donated as part of a youth sports initiative to “grow the game” of hockey in Arizona.
In his remarks, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild noted that Dusty, the Tucson Roadrunners mascot, would be right at home at the rink, desert heat notwithstanding. And Dusty was present to lend a hand—or wing—to the ribbon-cutting.
Named after a former Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, William J. Dawson, the rink is located next to a city park, Doolen Middle School, and the Frank & Edith Morton Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, Doolen principal Renee Morales, and Boys & Girls Club CEO Debbie Wagner all thanked the many volunteers and donors and expressed hope that young people would have fun, be physically active, and maybe even find a new activity they’re passionate about at the rink—which can also be used for basketball, pickleball, and other sports.