Arena to host family fun day

ALPENA – Alpena Public Schools is partnering with Alpena Community College, Lake Superior State University and Northern Lights Arena for a day of athletics, academics and family fun on Oct. 26. at the arena.

Hockey clinics will be offered in the morning, followed by a scrimmage between LSSU’s hockey team, and various program displays from ACC and LSSU in the afternoon.

“It’s going to be incredible for the local coaches and players to interact with the Lakers team,” Meg Richey, Northern Lights Arena manager, said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for the youth and locals to learn from the experienced players. It gives them an energetic and exciting atmosphere and a chance to experience a hockey game at the college level.”

Students of all ages can learn about some of the great career opportunities available through study at LSSU and ACC, as well as meet with admissions and transfer specialists from both schools. Program displays from ACC and LSSU will be open from 12-5 p.m. with admissions specialists from each school and representatives from different college career paths talking with interested students and parents.

“Some of the lobby programs include criminal justice, fire science and engineering,” APS parent involvement coordinator Lee Fitzpatrick said. “We want students to see how their education is part of the process toward a career. This is an opportunity to view programs from a big university without having to travel all the way there. It’s all at no cost, and should be a great opportunity for the community. It’s a nice chance for people to get that college game day feel.”

The LSSU Lakers hockey team is a major national hockey program, and team members will be available to speak with interested students during the free skate and spaghetti dinner at the arena.

“The education opportunity mixed in with the hockey scrimmage and free skate with the players afterwards is wonderful for the community,” Richey said. “The free skate is sponsored by Neiman’s (Family Market), and rentals will be available for free. It’s just a great day and Northern Lights is thrilled to be partnering with the Lakers and Alpena Public Schools to have this unique day available for the community. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The free scrimmage will take place at 3 p.m., followed by the free community skate on the ice with players from the team.

“It’s nice the team is able to come to Alpena,” Ray Werda, store director at Neiman’s, said. “We’re happy to have a chance to sponsor the free skate and give back to the community. It’s always nice to have different entities to the arena, and it’s a neat focus to combine hockey and education opportunities together.”

The day will wrap up with a $5 all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner, where visitors can eat with a Laker team member at each table, and listen to keynote speaker LSSU Athletic Director Kris Dunbar, who will speak about how students can prepare to be college athletes.

“This is a great opportunity for families to get information on some exciting career paths and enjoy a college game day atmosphere for free, right here in Alpena,” Fitzpatrick said.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.