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Hunt, Knowles complex have loaded slate for spring

February 28, 2008

Steve Stocker and Ben Fraser are the two men who head up the Knowles and Hunt Complex and they have a number of events planned for these two facilities during the spring semester.

  Stocker started as an assistant manager of the Hunt and Knowles Complex in 1997 and by 1998 he was the head director.

  “I actually got my start here as a student employee,” Stocker said. “I transferred here from North Dakota in 1992. I ran track and field here and I worked in the Knowles and Hunt facilities.”
  Sports have been a lifelong interest for Stocker, and that is what drew him to his profession.

  “As a PE, health and coaching student I fell in love with working in sports and rec [recreational] facilities,” Stocker said. “The thing that really drew me to the job was two of my most passionate sports: hockey and track and field. I thought ‘what a great job—I get to come to work everyday and there is a hockey arena and a track.’”

  Fraser just started working at UW-River Falls as the Assistant Director of the Hunt and Knowles arenas three months ago and so far the job is treating him well.

  “My first year here has been going great,” Fraser said. “I love the campus and I love all the opportunities we have to grow here at River Falls.

  Fraser got his undergraduate degree from UW-La Crosse, where he played baseball. He went on to receive his masters from Florida State University. 

  Fraser’s love of baseball led him to have a say in one of the events that already occurred at Knowles this semester. Knowles played host to a Minnesota Twins baseball camp Feb 10.

  “They [put on] a camp for kids 8-18, and the club baseball team [helped] out with that,” Fraser said. “Joe Vavra, the Minnesota Twins hitting coach, and Erik Lovdahl, the Minnesota twins batting practice coach and pitcher, [were there]. Lovdahl is actually a UWRF alumni; he played baseball here when they still had a varsity team and now he’s their batting practice pitcher.”

  Along with the baseball camp, Falcon hockey, track and field meets, intramurals and a concert are some events that have happened and will happen in the facilities this spring.

  “We have all sorts of activities and events planned,” Fraser said.

  On Feb. 8 the UWRF men’s hockey team had their “White Out” hockey game against St. Norbert. Fans attending the game were encouraged to wear white in order to create a unified and intimidating environment for the No. 1 ranked St. Norbert Green Knights, according to the UW-River Falls Web site.

  Knowles is also slated to host a number of high school track and field meets.

  “There are six or seven meets planned for the spring,” Stocker said. “Basically, we are one of the only venues in this area where high school track and field programs can compete early.”

  Those who enjoy playing sports as much as watching them can partake in many of the intramurals that Knowles and Hunt has to offer. Among the intramurals played there are volleyball, broomball, basketball and ultimate frisbee, Fraser said.

  Hanna North is one UWRF student that takes part in intramurals at Knowles to stay in shape. She also attends hockey games at Hunt Arena.

  “It’s a good arena for recreational and intramural sports, but the college level athletics we have here need more sophisticated facilities,” North said. “Hunt is a little crowded at times for hockey, but the experience is good.”

  North’s feelings about the inadequacies of UWRF athletic facilities will most likely be addressed in the not to distant future. 

  “There are future plans for a new Heath and Human Performance facility that will be located here,” Fraser said. It will be shared by athletics, rec [recreation] and HHP.”

  There is no set timeline for when construction on the new HHP facility will start, but UWRF is in the process of selecting an architect, Fraser said. 

Intramurals are part of the backbone of the buildings, but there other events are also hosted there.

  “The country music star Craig Morgan will be coming here May 10,” Fraser said. Fans of Morgan may know him for his songs “Tough” and “My Kind of Woman.”

  “Originally, Morgan was supposed to perform at the Falcon’s Nest in the UC [University Center], but the crowd was expected to be too large, so his performance was moved to Knowles,” Fraser said.

  Another event that already took place in Knowles was the Hunger Prevention Day Food Drive, Fraser said. The food drive took place Jan. 8 in order to help feed 250 needy families, according to the Knowles Center newsletter.

  For more information on upcoming events at Knowles and Hunt arenas, an event calendar can be obtained at Knowles or it can be viewed on the UWRF Web site.