Louie’s Sports Tavern and Polar Palace to close by end of April

LAPEER — The owners of Louie’s Sports Tavern and Polar Palace Arena Sports Complex and Banquet Center, located at 3301 Davison Rd., announced to employees Monday that the ice arena and sports bar will shut its doors permanently Sunday, April 28, following the high school alumni hockey tournament.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” said co-owner Rick Burrough. “My business partner, Gary Adam, and I have invested a substantial amount out-of-pocket to just keep the two businesses operational. With the ongoing change in the hockey world, our current model is not sustainable.”

The Polar Palace opened in 2000. At the time, Lapeer had two high school teams, each fielding their own team and renting ice from the rink. Since then, many high schools around the area have combined or simply gone away leading to huge gaps in the facility’s rink schedule.

“Hockey is an expensive sport and overall participation levels have declined dramatically in our area,” Burrough said. “Unfortunately, the number of teams we have today at youth, high school and adult league levels are not enough to keep the rink operational.”

As with other youth and high school sports, hockey is seeing dwindling numbers of players as young athletes focus on a single sport at an earlier age and are lured away from participating in sports altogether by social media, online gaming and other sedentary activities.

Because the ice arena helps draw customers into the restaurant, keeping the sports bar open without the ice arena is not feasible, Burrough said.

The management team will assist staff with other employment opportunities and help their hockey team patrons make arrangements with other rinks.

“We are proud of the businesses and those we were able to serve during our many years in business,” said Burrough. “While it’s always sad to see a business leave a community, we are hopeful that the 80,000-square-foot building and over 50 acres of property, which offers great proximity to the expressway, will be of use to another organization,” he said.

Burrough added, “Thank you to the community and our dedicated team members for the great years we shared.”

For more information, contact Emily Caswell at
ecaswell@mihomepaper.com
or 810-452- 2608.

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