In Minnesota, we have four seasons of sports, so we need four seasons of training. Hockey and figure skaters need ice in warm weather, and soccer (as well as lacrosse, baseball, football, and track) players need turf in cold weather. Gyms, courts, and other training facilities also have year-round demand. So where can Minnesota’s athletes go to train, play, and compete 365 days a year? These top sports centers.
The largest amateur sports facility in the world—that’s right the world—happens to be right here in Blaine. Built to host the Olympic Festival, the National Sports Center has been a boon to Minnesota athletes. Its 600-acre campus boasts a cyclycling velodrome, an eight-sheet ice arena, 100,000 square-feet of indoor training space, an 18-hole golf course, and more than 50 grass soccer fields. Needless to say, the National Sports Center is busy year-round.
The White Bear Lake Sports Center, operated by the eponymous city, is a multi-sport training facility that is open to the public without membership fees. The emphasis is on skating and hockey, but the facility also has space for dodgeball, racquetball, wallyball, and broomball, as well as aerobics classes.
A multi-rink indoor facility, the Essentia Duluth Heritage Sports Center also boasts several outdoor fields that support soccer, baseball, and softball. The center is open from September until June for skating. It offers open skating, open hockey hours, as well as programs and camps, like the Vintage Sports Camp, for youth. This spot was voted the best hockey facility in the state.
A partnership between the Midtown YWCA, Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, the Minneapolis Sports Center is the largest indoor sports facility in the Twin Cities. Its 50,000 square-feet of space contains a 200-meter track, as well as a pole vault pit. The center is designed to accommodate most sports, including basketball, floor hockey, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, and tennis. The MSC even has batting cages.
Operated by the city of St. Cloud, the Municipal Athletic Complex is home to two ice arenas that support hockey and figure skating, as well as open skating and lessons. Baseball and golf facilities are also seasonally operated at the MAC. A propsed expeansion would add more locker room and weight-training space to to the facility.
The largest multi-sport facility in the East Metro, the HealthEast Sports Center has a 90,000-square-foot indoor field house that supports soccer, field hockey, baseball/softball, and track. The center also boasts two indoor ice arenas and an outdoor refrigerated recreational ice skating rink. In addition to a fully-accessible playground and a splash pad water feature, the center has 36 outdoor athletic fields for a wide variety of sports, including baseball and soccer.
The Rochester Recreation Center is the biggest indoor facility in Southeast Minnesota. The RRC offers an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two ice rinks—one dedicated to figure skating and the other to hockey—as well as a large gym area that can accommodate basketball, volleyball, or pickleball. Its sport-court surfacing also makes gymnastics possible.
Although you can join as a member, the public can pay a day use fee to take advantage of the Williston Fitness Center’s facilities. These include basketball courts, indoor tennis, batting cages, and a swimming pool. The City of Minnetonka-owned facility also has a variety of fitness programs, including a weight room and personal training.
The West St. Paul Regional Athletics Center has a 110,000 square-feet of indoor training fields under a permanent dome. The facility supports and accommodates soccer, baseball, softball, walking, and jogging. In addition to the fields, WSPRAC also has batting cages on the premises.
This multi-sport and meeting complex is operated by the City of Eden Prairie. Adjacent to the high school and numerous city-owned athletic fields, the indoor facility offers a pool with acquatics programs, gym facilities for basketball, volleyball, etc., as well as a climbing wall for the adventurous. A waterslide and racquetball courts make EPCC one of the area’s most well-rounded facilities for serious athletes and fun-seekers alike.