By James Feichtner
For Fishers residents, having a place for ice sports year-round has been a standard for nearly 20 years. What residents have come to know as The Forum at Fishers ice arena, 9022 E 126th St., began as an endeavor for a group of Fishers parents to provide their kids a place to skate, but as those kids grew up, the upkeep of the facility diminished.
“Obviously it was a well-used facility because there’s not a lot of ice rinks in the city,” Indy Fuel owner Sean Hallett said. “But the original owners were a bunch of hockey parents that built it for their kids because there was no facility. What happened is those kids grew up and they really didn’t have incentive to invest in the facility and run it like a business.”
Fortunately Hallett and his Fuel family saw the facility as an opportunity to expand. With the help of his brother, Chad Hallett, the family purchased the facility, naming it the Fuel Tank.
“It’s still the same clientele it always has been but with a bit nicer facility, with a bit nicer programs, having the Fuel’s involvement inside the youth hockey, organizing the youth hockey to a higher level. All that together has just made for a better program here in Fishers and we hope that expands from Fishers into central Indiana.” Chad said.
With Sean and Chad’s father starting Indy Fuel, Indianpolis’ minor league hockey team, the Hallet’s wanted to keep the business in the family.
“My father spearheaded (Indy) Fuel and he asked me to run that,” Sean said. “He wanted it to be a family business. For a minor league sports team there really wasn’t room for the both (Chad and I) to be at the Fuel. Chad was available and the Fuel Tank seemed like the next logical opportunity to expand in the hockey business.”
Being an avid skater and hockey player since he could stand on the ice, Chad was a perfect fit for the job at the Fuel Tank.
“I’ve played hockey since I was around two so I’ve always been involved in hockey,” Chad said. “The (Indy) Fuel came about and Sean took care of all that. I supported the team and was waiting for something that made sense for me to join in.”
Now as Fuel Tank’s general manager, Chad is looking forward to embracing his love for hockey by spreading it here in Fishers.
“I love the game of hockey, so that was first and foremost in doing something I love,” Chad said. “Aside from that I love giving back, to the youth especially. My big goal is to support youth hockey as much as we can, but if we support youth hockey then it trickles in and that is how we grow the sport of hockey as a whole. I’m looking forward to giving back to the community.”
In addition to hockey, Chad said that going forward he is looking to make the facility more year-round. He said that while during hockey season the arena will stay busy, during off-season the business slows down, something he’d like to change.
“Previously you have your in-season times when the hockey leagues are going on, and then there’s the out-season. We’re looking into out-of-season leagues, camps, clinics, a learn-to-skate program, learn to play hockey; all that stuff can go year-round. There’s a ton of opportunity for out of the season. We have so much planned and ready to go so that people will have plenty of stuff to do on the ice all year round.”
The Hallets also said that increasing figure skating in the arena is also a goal for the Fuel Tank.
“That’s one thing (The Forum) didn’t do much at all with here so that’s something that I really jumped on,” Chad said. “I’ve been doing something called freestyle skates trying to bring more figure skaters out. That’s something we can do all year.”
The Fuel Tank is currently open for business and will be hosting a holiday open house to the public starting Dec. 26. For more, visit www.indyfueltank.com
Facility renovation highlights
- Two new, electric ice resurfacers. Previously propane.
- Replaced HVAC system for more efficient management of climate in facility
- Brand new upstairs workout facility. Upper level was previously unused by former tenants. Currently used by local hockey teams, Indy Fuel team and members.
- New paint throughout facility matching Indy Fuel’s colors
- New carpeting, new bathroom fixtures.
- New concession stand
- New Indy Fuel merchandise store
- New Rapid Shot hockey training station (similar to batting cages for hockey)
- New NHL size arena glass
- New brighter lighting systems in arenas
- Renovated locker rooms designated for local teams.
- New sound systems
- New handicap accessible elevator for use of workout facility.