Matt Kraska, Ex-Officio
What's your day job? Owner of Play It Again Sports & Fitness, Bozeman.
You are now an ex-officio board member. What other positions have you held within BAHA and GIF? Around 2000, shortly after the Haynes opened, I was on the BAHA board as the Adult Director of hockey. I took it over from Bob Mielnik and I passed it on to Harding and Pertzborn after one term. The 04/05 season I opened the Panzer Hockey Shop in a small, portable building located on the south end of the Haynes Pavilion. I bought a skate sharpener and offered sharpens and sold tape, mouth guards, etc.. The next season I opened Play It Again Sports and sold the Panzer Hockey Shop to Cody Pilon who ran it for two more season.
What keeps you involved with the Raise the Ice Barn campaign? My wife asks me that all the time. I'm kind of a dog-on- a-bone, I guess.
What impact do you think this project has on ice sports in Montana? There are more indoor ice rinks in Arizona than there are in Montana. We should be on par with the rest of the northern-tier states - North Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc. I think Montana is ripe for a strong, state-wide skating and hockey culture. It's so simple - we just need ice. The new indoor arena here in Bozeman will add one more ice rink to the growing number in Montana. Over the next 20-30 years I expect we will double the number of refrigerated ice rinks (to more than 30 rinks).
Any final thoughts? I've been fortunate to be a part of this project. I'm only one player in the long line of contributors. This project would be no-where without the efforts of those who did so much before me. And I expect those after me will do more than we were able to. I can't wait to see what happens - it's gonna be great!