Garfield County Commission approves hockey rink expansion near Carbondale

The site of the Steadman Philippon Arena expansion near Carbondale.
Taylor Cramer/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The Steadman Philippon Arena near Carbondale, which opened in November 2022, is set to grow. 

Garfield County Commissioners approved an expansion plan on Monday. The hockey arena, home to Colorado Extreme Hockey, will get a new rink and more parking.

The arena started small, but it’s always been Sheldon Wolitski’s dream to make it bigger. Wolitski — the founder and president of Colorado Extreme Hockey, as well as the visionary behind the rink’s expansion — realizes the impact the expansion will have.

“This is a big step for not only our program, but also the Roaring Fork Valley that we have been looking to take since the beginning,” he said.

The arena isn’t just for the team; it’s a part of the community. The planned expansion will add a second rink to the current one.

The decision for the rink expansion brought on optimism and hope from its neighbors.

“First thing I want to say is that I recommend this approval,” neighbor Charles Cole said during the Monday meeting. “There is nothing better than to hear these kids shrieking with joy over there.”

The arena’s growth isn’t stopping here. Wolitski sees a bright future for not only the arena, but also future plans for others, as well. He hopes to turn the current facility into a covered one, with both indoor and outdoor rinks. 

J.R. Stung, who has been a part of the planning process, gave insights on the technical aspects. The plan includes work to support the flow of water and the preservation of natural resources. The team is working with Aspen Valley Land Trust to ensure the environment is taken care of.

Wolitski said he also hopes to open more rinks across the valley. As of now, only the Colorado Extreme Hockey team can use the current Carbondale facility. The long-time valley resident hopes the rink can one day be open to all looking to get out on the ice.