Commitment. Courage. Honor. Hard Work. Integrity. Sportsmanship. Team Work. Dedication.
These eight values, combined with compelling images of athletes in motion, are proudly displayed on eight brand-new banners at the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Sports Center (EHDHSC). The banners, commissioned from talented local artist Tim Cortes, represent the standards of conduct that went into building the facility ten years ago, as well as the much hoped-for end goal intended for the kids who play here.
“These eight beliefs aren’t just words on a page,” says Patrick Francisco, Chairman of the DHSC Foundation. “They are truly the values that drive the people living in this community.”
It Began with a Vision
While the EHDHSC is the proud home for three Duluth high school hockey teams, it is so much more. Here, you can play soccer, lacrosse, take a yoga class, or even rent the facility for a birthday party. “This is a community place,” Francisco shares.
It all started when Duluth’s Peterson Arena burned down in 2004. While this left a huge hole in the community, and one less place to get out on the ice, Francisco and others knew that if it was to be rebuilt, the community deserved something more than simply a replacement.
The result of a $20 million-dollar investment, completed with a shocking 70% of its construction costs handled by private funding, the facility opened its doors in 2007. Today, this multi-use community facility is home to the Dave Goldberg branch of the Boys & Girls Club, Duluth Area Hockey Association (DAHA), two 200 X 85’ hockey rinks (Sill & Seitz Arenas), Giuliani Hall, the City of Duluth’s Recreation Program, and more.
A Healthy Partnership
In June 2016, Essentia Health, a health system serving patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho, and headquartered in Duluth, became a major community partner with the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and the health system’s name was added to the facility name.
This partnership opened the door to many more programming options at the EHDHSC, including multi-generational, community wellness education programs to foster youth development, family education, senior health, healthy living, and social responsibility.
For instance, free community yoga classes are now held at the EHDHSC. It also hosts health and wellness activities like concussion prevention, smoking cessation, and flu shot booths.
“The facility has breathed new life into the neighborhood and surrounding community,” says Essentia Health CEO David Herman, MD. “At Essentia Health, our mission is to make a healthy difference in the lives of the people we serve and that commitment is shared by those who lead the EHDHSC. Because of that, the partnership is a perfect fit for Essentia.”
Focus on the Athletes
The health and safety of the athletes who play at EHDHSC are the top priority of everyone involved. “We’re privileged to work with 250 Northland teams and 25,000 student-athletes as the Official Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team for four local universities and 15 area high schools,” says Kristi Schmidt, Essentia Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.
“We provide care before, during and after both practices and games. Working together, we prevent, diagnose and treat everything from minor sprains to injuries that could end a student-athlete’s season. We’re committed to keeping student athletes like the Duluth East Greyhounds, the Proctor Rails, the Denfeld Hunters, the Hermantown Hawks and the Superior Spartans, just to name a few, healthy and in the game.”
Hockey and So Much More
Beyond hockey and the community education programming offered through Essentia, there is something for everyone at the EHDHSC. Summer sports programs, soccer, lacrosse, and open skating are all part of the fun. Dog shows, flea markets, auto shows, and activities for ISD 709 have all taken place inside the facility. And, of course, the Clyde Iron Works restaurant is directly next door; a convenient option for hungry hockey players and their parents.
But, above all, the EHDHSC is a place where a child, no matter their socioeconomic status or background, is welcomed and accepted. Here, while they play, they learn the bedrock of Duluth’s values, including commitment, courage, honor, hard work, integrity, sportsmanship, team work, and dedication. “The EHDHSC is simply Duluth’s heart on display,” Francisco says.