Grand Rapids Ice Arena Lands Partnership With Yanmar

In its hometown of Grand Rapids, MN, Yanmar CE North America scores naming rights of a community arena used for ice hockey and figure skating. 

On November 1, 2023, the facility formerly known as the IRA Civic Center was renamed Yanmar Arena. Grand Rapids-based Yanmar Compact Equipment North America — which includes Yanmar Compact Equipment and ASV brands — entered into a partnership with the Minnesota city to secure naming rights of the facility.

Grand Rapids Ice Arena
Yanmar recently partnered with the City of Grand Rapids, MN, for naming rights to the IRA Civic Center, which was renamed Yanmar Arena on Nov. 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Yanmar Compact Equipment North America)

Among the inspirations for the partnership is Yanmar’s foundational ethos of hanasaka, a Japanese word meaning “let the people and the future bloom.” Through hanasaka, Yanmar envisions a future where young talent is nurtured and inspired through sports and arts, contributing to a thriving, connected community.

With over 200,000 visitors per year, the newly christened Yanmar Arena is a popular venue for ice hockey, figure skating and community events held throughout the year. The official grand opening and ribbon cutting was held before the start of the Grand Rapids High School boys’ hockey game against Hibbing on November 22.

“We are immensely grateful for Yanmar’s commitment to the Grand Rapids community and their genuine support for the growth and well-being of our residents.”

— Grand Rapids Mayor Dale Christy

“The renaming of the IRA Civic Center to Yanmar Arena illustrates Yanmar’s commitment to Grand Rapids and the surrounding area by helping make athletic opportunities more accessible to the generations of athletes,” said Tate Johnson, CEO and president of Yanmar CE North America. “This was an excellent opportunity for us to give back in a meaningful way; and we are honored to partner with the City of Grand Rapids in this endeavor.”

According to city officials, the 10-year agreement will lower the cost of ice time by approximately $40/hour for all parties that utilize Yanmar Arena. As a result, thousands of people, young and old, will enjoy greater accessibility to ice skating; and Yanmar hopes this will support the next generation of young athletes.

Grand Rapids Ice Arena
Yanmar partnered with the City of Grand Rapids to make athletic opportunities at the newly dubbed Yanmar Arena more accessible to the next generation of young athletes. (Photo courtesy of Yanmar Compact Equipment North America)

“This collaboration will enhance our local sports scene and open doors for athletes of all ages and backgrounds,” said Dale Christy, mayor of Grand Rapids. “We are immensely grateful for Yanmar’s commitment to the Grand Rapids community and their genuine support for the growth and well-being of our residents.”

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Yanmar CE North America’s dedication to its hometown and support for community-driven initiatives is at the heart of this historic partnership. Yanmar seeks to establish a space that not only fosters athletic excellence but serves as a cornerstone for community engagement, enrichment and pride.

Yanmar CE North America also provided the City of Grand Rapids with a new TL100VS, the debut machine in its new line of compact track loaders, which will be used for snow removal and maintenance at the facility.

Earlier this year, Yanmar announced a 32,000-square-foot expansion to its factory in Grand Rapids where the company will manufacture compact track loaders for both its Yanmar and ASV brands (see sidebar). The company also announced the addition of hundreds of jobs in Grand Rapids over the coming years.

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