Yanmar Compact Equipment North America, encompassing the Yanmar Compact Equipment and ASV brands, has entered into a partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, Min., to secure naming rights of the former IRA Civic Center. Starting November 1, 2023, the facility was renamed Yanmar Arena.
With more than 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 will be held before the start of the Grand Rapids High School boys’ hockey game against Hibbing on Wednesday, November 22, at 7 p.m. Promotional items will be given away to the first 150 fans through the doors.
“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 Compact Equipment 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 per 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.
Yanmar CE North America’s unwavering dedication to its hometown and profound belief in 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 established its headquarters in Grand Rapids when it purchased ASV Holdings, a manufacturer of compact track loaders and skid steers, in 2019. ASV was originally founded in Marcell, Min., in 1983 and moved its headquarters to Grand Rapids in 1995. The brand celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year.
The guiding principle of this 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.
“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.”
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.
Once new signage throughout the building is installed, Yanmar plans to acknowledge the venue’s storied history that dates to 1962 when the Itasca Recreation Association (IRA) was formed with the expressed aim of raising funds to construct an indoor ice facility in Grand Rapids. Yanmar will also work with arena leadership to celebrate the heritage of Grand Rapids hockey.
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. The company also announced the addition of hundreds of jobs in Grand Rapids over the coming years.
See available Yanmar CE North America job openings at https://yanmarce.com/careers/.