$250,000 challenge grant from Eccles family helps Hailey Ice

Matching donations to ‘fill The Ice House’

    Hailey Ice Executive Director Sarah Benson called it a “holiday gift” to help build a new indoor ice rink in Hailey.

    In a Dec. 24 press release, Hailey Ice announced that the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles family has committed $250,000 to match all new gifts and pledges, dollar for dollar, made to Hailey Ice between Dec. 22, 2014, and March 31, 2015.

    The gift comes at a crucial time for Hailey Ice, the organization working to build the first non-profit indoor ice rink in Hailey, as it nears its $5.5 million fund-raising goal, according to Benson.

    Benson said, “We are thrilled to receive this generous commitment from the Eccles family.

    “The monies we have raised so far will complete the building. The challenge grant will help us raise monies to ‘fill The Ice House’ with bleachers, vulcanized matting, scoreboard, dasher boards, benches, a new Zamboni, benches, nets—anything that goes in the building. You name it, we need it.”

    “Our goal is to raise $500,000. We look forward to the community helping us to get there thanks to this challenge grant by the Eccles family. We hope many area citizens will take advantage of this opportunity to double the impact of their gifts.”

    The Hailey indoor rink located next to the rodeo arena at Wertheimer Park will be named the “The Ice House.”

    Hailey Ice received approval Dec. 8 from Hailey’s Planning and Zoning Commission to begin construction of Phase 2 of its project, including the enclosed 33,000-square-foot building.

    Phase 1, which included the ice surface, ice plant, and the building to cover the ice plant, Zamboni room, and fire/electrical room was completed this fall. “Next spring, we’ll put out to bid the steel for the building,” said Benson.

    Hailey Ice has received over $5 million in donations over the past two years, the press release stated.

    They include major gifts from an anonymous Hailey couple, The Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Foundation, and a transformational gift of $4 million from Lynn Campion-Waddell and her family foundation, the Deer Creek Fund of the Denver-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation.  

    The Eccles family has deep roots in the valley.

    Since the 19th century, the Eccles family participated in many of the region’s key businesses—from banking, construction to lumber and ranching.

    “Our family’s heritage and legacy have long been tied to the Wood River Valley,” said Spencer F. Eccles, “beginning with my grandfather David Eccles in the 1800s.”

    Spencer Eccles, a board member of Sun Valley Co. from 1967-76, has been involved in ranching in the valley since he purchased the Flying Hat Ranch in 1969 and the Window Rock Ranch in 1997.

    The family supported the Bill Janss Aquatic Center at the Wood River YMCA in Ketchum, Eccles said. He noted that his family is “thrilled to now have this opportunity to help bring an athletics-focused center to the Hailey/Bellevue area.”

    He said, “This grant reflects our family’s longstanding commitment to the entire Wood River Valley. We are delighted to be able to help bring the dream of Hailey Ice to fruition.

    “Not only will it bring important economic benefits to the valley, but, even more importantly, it will offer ‘quality of life’ opportunities to area youth, families and individuals of every age, particularly in the south valley.”

    Family member Hope Eccles said, “We see this as an important addition to the community. We’re proud to partner with other individuals and businesses to help finalize its funding.”

    Ron Fairfax, chair of the Hailey Ice board of trustees, said, “We are excited about this challenge because gifts from our community members will be matched dollar for dollar.

    “If we receive $250,000 in contributions between now and March 30, we’ll receive an additional $250,000 from the Eccles family, which means that we will be able to purchase essential items for the indoor rink.”

    The Ice House will not be available for use until it is fully enclosed and opens as an indoor rink. The project completion date is November 2015. Hailey Ice will continue to operate an outdoor non-refrigerated rink at Hailey Rodeo Arena this winter.

    For more information, contact Benson at 720-3086, e-mail her at, or contact Hailey Ice by mail at P.O. Box 4616, Hailey, ID 83333. The Web site is Long time Wood River Valley resident, Lynn Campion-Waddell, gave Hailey Ice a great surprise Thursday evening. Hailey Ice Board President Ron Fairfax announced that Campion’s family foundation, the Deer Creek Fund of the Denver-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, has made a $4 million gift to help fund construction of an indoor ice rink in Hailey. Hailey Ice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to build the first nonprofit indoor ice rink in Blaine County.

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Please join us in constructing an awesome facility at the Hailey Rodeo Park for all to enjoy!!


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