By Frank Gilbertson, Maplewood Heritage Preservation Commissioner
The State of Hockey harkens the names of towns like Roseau, Warroad, Duluth, Hermantown, Edina, and ... Maplewood? Yes. Aldrich Ice Arena, at 1850 North White Bear Avenue, is named after Mr. Gene Aldrich, one of the founders of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament.
Built in 1962, Aldrich is a historic building at over 53
years old. The arena has one regulation sheet of ice measuring 200’ x
85’. Aldrich serves as the classic host site for more than 100 high
school hockey league and play-off games. It went down in history when it
also hosted the first two High School Girls' Hockey State Tournaments.
At full capacity, Aldrich has seating for over 3,400, with concert
seating available up to 4,430.
The St. Paul Rangers from the
old Central Professional Hockey League utilized Aldrich Arena for their
home practice facilities and occasional game play. In 1995, for its
first and only season, the Roller Hockey International League’s
Minnesota Blue Ox played 12 home games at Aldrich arena. Before the Blue
Ox game action started, fans were able to enjoy in-line skating on the
On January 22, 1998, the proclamation that
Minnesota’s new professional hockey team would be called the Minnesota
Wild was made at Aldrich Arena. There was a capacity crowd when a large
artificial puck was dropped from the ceiling at center ice, with local
kids wearing National Hockey League uniforms ready at center ice.
These days a visit to Aldrich Arena may easily bring back memories of
Met Center in Bloomington, former home of the Minnesota North Stars. The
Met Center was built atop a man-made hill and had a similar “box-style”