Birch Run Expo Center
The Birch Run Expo Center is a 2,500 seat multi-purpose arena in Birch Run, Michigan. Prior to 2002, it was the first NHL Skate center. Due to lack of interest, it was converted into its present form. It was also the home of the Great Lakes Storm from 2002 to 2005.
It is now used for trade shows, conventions and other events, such as gun and knife shows and the annual music festival, Dirt Fest.
Built in 1997, the NHL opened the first of 100 planned local hockey arenas on September 11, 1997 to help promote interest in skating and hockey. Built by SAI Structural, the original facility included two hockey rinks, eight themed locker rooms, family attractions, a food court, and a NHL FANtasy Zone. By mid-1998, the facility in Birch Run had seen nearly a quarter of a million people since the grand opening. However, by late 1999 the center and the whole "NHL Skate" concept was facing financial difficulties and closed in 2000.
- Muret, Don (1997-10-22). "NHL Skates Into Birch Run, Mich., With Its First Licensed Ice Facility". Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "National Hockey League targets development of 100 rinks". Real Estate Weekly. 1998-06-03. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- Staff Writers (1999-10-03), Birch Run's NHL Skate struggles to make money: Partners' ambitious plans for growth slow, Detroit News
- Polling, Travis (2001-03-02), Full-size skating rinks to spawn new ice age, San Antonio Express-News
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