April 09, 2019

April 2019 MIAMA Board Member Article – Dean Mulso
The MIAMA Board of Directors are excited to present the 2019 Spring Workshop in a location we have never visited. The Red Baron Arena and Expo in Marshall, MN is one of the newer facilities in the state. This is a great opportunity for all members to attend and see what Marshall has done with their facility and explore Southwestern MN. Maybe something they have done with there facility, you can bring back home and implement into your facility. It can be a reason to see another facility that you normally may not visit. Stop in Redwood Falls on your way south for a look at their rink as well. Make it a road trip and plan some short stops along the way to say hi to other rinks.
The Spring Workshop will offer a USIRA SIRO course. As of April 8, 2019 we have 10 registrations for this course and it’s not too late to sign up. Go to to register today.
We’ve invited The National Hockey League back to share how it is expanding its efforts to understand the needs of the community rink industry across North America and ensure this infrastructure and the sport of hockey thrives for future generations. The NHL will share it’s perspective on the state of this infrastructure based on its studies, and will outline its initial focus efforts to understand what role we at the League can play to help address any concerns or issues. This session will have a Q & A so be prepared to ask your questions or share a comment with them so they can use our information to make this a better process and relationship.
The workshop offers attendees a new experience with a break out session geared towards your size of facility based on the number of ice sheets or community center setting. We want attendees to bring issues, concerns, solutions, programming literature, brochures, contracts, business cards and other items you use at your facilities to share with your group. We are hoping that the small group setting will produce some great conversation, interaction and in general networking connections not just for May 8, but into the future, by meeting other peers that are in your boat. Connecting with others and then reaching out via email or phone as the year(s) move forward is one of the greatest ways we can improve our operations and help solve problems and issues that arise. This is also a way you may find a lifelong friend!
We believe we have a great trade show lined up from 10:30a-12:30p. New this year, lunch will be served at 12:30pm with all vendors leaving their booths to eat lunch with the attendees. It is another way you will be able to have more of a social setting to get to know each other, without the “official” sales pitch. Our hope is that you get to know each other more, and again can lead to more networking while you’re not at a MIAMA event.
Lastly we will offer tours of the facility from 7:30a-8:30a or again from 12:30p-12:45p.
While the early bird deadline has passed, it is not too late to join in and continue to increase your knowledge and form relationships with your peers. If you are registered for the workshop, we look forward to seeing you. If you haven’t registered, we’d love to see you in Marshall on May 8th. Just go to to register.
I have offered this information up back in 2015 and thought I would share again:
Does your arena/organization have a Mission Statement or a philosophy that you want your employees to follow and adhere too? Does each of your programs have mission statements as well? Providing your staff these simple, yet effective statements can help your staff to understand what you as a facility and staff, want to accomplish and provide to your customers.
Below I have included my facilities Mission Statements and Philosophy.
Mission Statement – The Burnsville Ice Center is a customer service organization dedicated to creating and maintaining a fun, family-oriented atmosphere. Our staff is devoted to delivering unparalleled customer service, value, and program opportunities to all our guests. We strive to build a lifelong commitment in the community to individual and family entertainment through ice related activities.
Philosophy – The Burnsville Ice Center must provide the highest quality service that is possible to insure that our customers’ needs are met. The following areas will provide guidance and make sure expectations are clear.
Safety – Be Alert! Most on and off ice accidents can be prevented if we insure that all building rules and regulations are followed. Report all potential hazards to the Maintenance Supervisor.
Courtesy – Smile! Treat our customers like they pay our paychecks…because THEY DO! Make sure that all customers and staff get the best you have to offer.
Cleanliness – Cleanliness is everyone’s job at the Burnsville Ice Center. Make it a habit! Notice the little things and make sure the facility stays spotless!
Service – This is the only product we have to offer. Good ice, quality instruction, clean surroundings and an attentive staff make a successful operation. Notice the people around you. Help them out. Take personal responsibility for customer’s happenings at the Ice Center.
  • The Burnsville Ice Center is an equal opportunity employer that realizes that our employees are our number one asset. As a customer service organization, we must be devoted to bringing the best and brightest into our facility to serve our customers’ needs. Through this philosophy, we are better able to offer unparalleled service, value and program opportunities to our customers.
  • Customer service at the Burnsville Ice Center means delivering the highest quality product, demonstrating a strong sense of community, and providing clear and accurate information about our programs while maintaining a willingness to listen to our patrons.
  • We hold our staff and their skills in the highest regard. We believe that acquiring and training an exceptional staff is the first step in meeting and exceeding our collective goals. We take better care of ourselves in order to deliver the best product to our customers.
Burnsville Ice Center Department Mission Statements:
Programming – The Burnsville Ice Center will continually strive to increase profitability and entertainment value of the Facility by working to improve and maximize existing programs and revenues, by seeking out new public and developing new programs, and by enhancing the experience of all patrons through a tireless customer service philosophy.
Learn to Skate – The Burnsville Ice Center is dedicated to providing quality instruction for all levels and ages of skaters. Our staff will use the most successful curriculum and methods to teach classes and private lessons. We will provide a fun and entertaining atmosphere to all that are participating in our Learn to Skate Program.
Promotions/Public Relations – The Burnsville Ice Center staff will promote the Ice Center to the public at large, as well as specifically defined target markets. We are committed to informing the people of the Twin Cities area about our facility and the programs and events that we offer. We strive to create “top of the mind” awareness that will drive new traffic through our facility and secure return business. We achieve these objectives through a variety of mediums including, but not limited to, advertising, public relations, media relations, promotional events, new programs, direct mail, and other print promotional materials.
Facilities/Maintenance – The Burnsville Ice Center staff is dedicated to providing the cleanest, safest and most efficient environment possible for customers and staff. Our staff is committed to maintaining quality levels far beyond the industry standards. Through continuing education and networking with industry leaders, the Ice Center staff is and will continue to be recognized as leaders and innovators in facility maintenance.
Do you share with your staff a Credo or some basics you want your staff to follow and use on a daily basis. Having these basics again help to install in your staff continuity and accountability. Below I have included my facilities Credo and Employee Basics.
The Burnsville Ice Center Credo
Welcome home to the Burnsville Ice Center! We are dedicated to providing top quality service to you and your family. Our facility is clean, our staff members are friendly and helpful, the answers are “yes”, and troubles are parked outside. The Burnsville Ice Center is the place for cool times with a warm touch.
Burnsville Ice Center Employee Basics:
  1. The mission statement and credo must be known and energized by all employees.
  2. Employees will be an ambassador of the facility in and outside of the work place. Always talk positively – no negative comments.
  3. Greet each guest with a warm sincere greeting. Use their name whenever possible.
  4. “Smile” – we are on stage. Always maintain positive eye contact. Make your enthusiasm contagious.
  5. Escort guests rather than pointing out directions to other areas of the facility.
  6. Use proper telephone etiquette. Answer within three rings and with a smile.
  7. Be knowledgeable of facility information (programs, etc.) to answer customer inquiries. Anticipate their questions and needs.
  8. Welcome all challenges. Any employee who receives a customer complaint “owns” the complaint and is responsible for resolving it to satisfy the customer for the moment. Management may need to get involved for more resolution, if necessary.
  9. Take ownership and pride in protecting the assets of the Burnsville Ice Center. Treat the Burnsville Ice Center like it is your home.
  10. Uncompromising levels of cleanliness are the responsibility of every employee.
  11. Practice energy conservation and proper maintenance and repair of property and equipment.
  12. Employees must know their roles during emergency situations and are aware of procedures (fire, tornado, robbery, etc.).
  13. Uniforms are to be neat, clean and all shirts tucked in.
  14. Create a positive work environment. Practice teamwork and help develop a sense of camaraderie.
  15. Give each guest a warm good-bye. Use their name whenever possible.
Hopefully, this article will give you time to reflect on your operation and your staff and are you letting them know what you expect of them and what service level do you want to provide to your customers.
Becoming a facility that treats the operation as a business, but keeps its relationships personal with your customers is a good model to follow. With more and more arenas having to move into the enterprise funds (or break even or a profit) and not just a community asset, we all need to make sure we follow good business practices. Simple things like signed contracts, payment for ice time before they skate, collecting for skate sharpening when they drop off the skates and more, will make our industry much more respected.
My analogy has always been this with my staff – if I go to McDonald’s and order my food, do they give me the food and I go eat it, then when I’m done I decide if I want to pay today or tomorrow or just wait until McDonald’s chases me down to collect. No, they make me pay before I get my food. Why can’t we as Arena managers and staff do the same thing at every rink, every time we get a customer? We as industry professionals need to make it the standard and the customers meet our standards and not let the customers set our standards for us.
Our industry is our own worst enemy when it comes to business practices, by not demanding that customers meet our procedures and policies. We are always afraid, that they will take their business to another rink that has lax rules, etc… If we all start to practice the basics of business practices, we can stop worrying about our customers leaving and concentrate on giving them a great facility and customer service.
Dean Mulso
Recreation Facilities Manager – Burnsville Ice Center
MIAMA Administrative Assistant/Treasurer

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April 2019 – MIAMA Board Member Article