ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Albuquerque just got a new soccer team and now a new hockey team is on the way, bringing millions in upgrades to where they'll play.
The Outpost Ice Arenas in northeast Albuquerque is undergoing a $2 million renovation that includes upgrades across virtually the entire facility.
The upgrades come as Albuquerque’s only ice rink recently got a new owner and will soon welcome a new junior hockey league team, the New Mexico Ice Wolves.
“We feel great about what we're doing here,” said Stan E. Hubbard, owner of the Outpost and New Mexico Ice Wolves.
An Albuquerque resident and broadcast executive, Hubbard completed the purchase of the Outpost Ice Arenas in August. Since then, he’s been working on fixing it up.
“We have a lot to do, but we feel real good about where it's at,” said Hubbard.
The Outpost Ice Arenas has been a community fixture for more than three decades, operating off Tramway Boulevard near Paseo del Norte in the Albuquerque Foothills.
”We're trying to embrace the community, embrace people that love ice sports and bring more people into it as well,” said Hubbard of the new renovations at the facility.
Hubbard is also the owner of the New Mexico Ice Wolves, an expansion team in the North American Hockey League. The team is expected to play its first season at the Outpost Ice Arenas in the fall of 2019.
“It's a big deal, these are some of the top 17, 18, 19-year-old players in the world,” said Hubbard.
Until their season starts, it's upgrades for everything at the facility, including a new pro-shop, LED lighting replacements and a lot of general facility maintenance, like cleaning and painting.
“The locker rooms and shower facilities have all been substantially cleaned up and painted,” said Hubbard.
Some of the bleachers will be taken out soon for seats with chair backs for the Ice Wolves games.
In April, Hubbard says crews will begin the heavy lifting of re-leveling the rink.
“The ice has never been taken out, the ice is going to come out, all the glass is going to be replaced,” said Hubbard.
Hubbard hopes all of it will help bring out the community and continue ice sports into New Mexico for decades to come.
“It's for people that love ice sports, and people that are going to love ice sports 10:54 and don't even know it yet,” said Hubbard.
In order to do the rink renovations, the Outpost will close for the month of April and reopen in mid-May.
The New Mexico Ice Wolves hockey team hasn’t had its schedule set yet, but the team is planning for its debut to be for the 2019-2020 season. The recently hired a head coach and will begin tryouts in July.