The Ben Boeke Ice Arena opened in 1975 as a 700-seat indoor ice rink. Part of the Chester Creek Sports Complex in Midtown, the facility is owned by the Municipality of Anchorage and managed by SMG, a property manager based in Pennsylvania. McCool, Carlson and Green have provided updates throughout the years. It was designed as an all-purpose rink that could host league hockey games, public skate sessions, and ice lessons.
The arena is set alongside major transportation corridors in Anchorage, C Street and the Seward Highway. It was one component of a larger redevelopment scheme to overhaul Anchorage's Chester Creek area in the 1970s and early 1980s. The arena sits amid a large parking area that abuts other sports facilities used for baseball, soccer, and football. The concrete and cinderblock facade illustrate a utilitarian design common among sports venues built between the 1950s and 1980s. With its square masonry units, the design also recalls the style of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Other postmodern design elements include the striking circular vestibule that functions as a primary entrance to the arena as well as the oversized lettering visible from the vast sea of parking surrounding the building.
In 1979, the arena hosted a three-game hockey exhibition pitting the semi-professional Anchorage Wolverines against a West German team training for the 1980 Olympics, with the West Germans winning the series 2-1. Later in 1979, the arena was expanded to its current configuration of two 200 x 85-foot ice rinks. The first rink holds a capacity of a thousand spectators, including a standing room section. The second rink accommodates about a hundred spectators. The rinks are served by an infrared heating apparatus to provide temperate conditions throughout the year.
The ice arena is named for Ben Boeke, Anchorage city clerk from 1947 to 1972, who served under eleven mayors and eight city managers. Boeke, who did not play hockey, died in 1972, only three months after retiring. He is buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, about a mile north of the arena.
“Ben Boeke Retires: A City Hall Fixture.” Anchorage Daily Times, September 13, 1972, 3.
Land Design North with USKH and Robert Droll. Chester Creek Sports Complex: Master Plan Update, Existing Conditions Report. Anchorage: Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, January 2006.
“New Ice Arena opens at Mulcahy.” Anchorage Daily Times, November 26, 1975, 110.