Successful ice arenas serve the public with worthwhile events, while cultivating their own financial and mechanical well-being. It's a lot to juggle. Fortunately, Kristin Egan can help.
As president at Competitive Edge Rink Consulting, Egan has advised clients including HTG on developing standout arenas worldwide. We were lucky to squeeze in a chat the day before Egan launched New York City's first rooftop ice rink.
HTG: How did you get into your current position?
Kristin Egan: My family owned an ice facility in Rockledge, Florida, so I grew up working in the rink business. I was also a competitive figure skater and hockey player, so it's always been more than just a job for me. I moved to New York in 2006 to manage one of the busiest outdoor ice rinks in the world in Bryant Park. From 2008 to 2012, I lived in Melbourne, Australia, and was responsible for launching and operating the largest ice sports center in the Southern Hemisphere. I returned to New York and continued to work on a multitude of rink projects for various contractors and operators. Two years ago, I got the itch to launch my own consulting business, and that is how Competitive Edge Rink Consulting was born.
HTG: What's the best part about being on the ice?
Egan: I really love the cold. Skating is second-nature to me.
HTG: Tell me about your day-to-day duties.
Egan: I specialize in the development and operations of both ice facilities and seasonal outdoor ice rink activation, so my days can be very different depending on what project I’m working on. Today, I’m on site at Pier 17 in New York City, preparing to launch the first outdoor rooftop rink in New York. Last week, I was participating in investor meetings with a professional hockey team who will be building a new practice facility. Most of my time is spent producing feasibility studies for my clients, who range from developers, to municipalities, to sporting organizations.
HTG: What's it been like working with HTG?
Egan: Typically, I’m brought in to advise architects who don’t have any experience designing ice facilities, so it’s fantastic to work with a group that specializes in this the way HTG does. For the project in Cedar City, [Utah], I performed a feasibility study for a new Olympic-sized ice rink, and I engaged HTG to produce a schematic site plan with artistic renderings, as well as assist with a preliminary construction budget. They were amazing to work with, and I hope to engage them on another project in the next couple of weeks.
HTG: What are some of the challenges you run into in your line of work?
Egan: My biggest challenge is dealing with clients who have overly ambitious visions. It’s important that ice facilities are sustainable, and the profitability piece is very tricky. When faced with these situations, I provide them with data that supports my point of view that the project is unfeasible, and develop alternative concepts that fit the needs of their market.
HTG: Describe some successes you've had.
Egan: The rooftop rink project I’m working on right now is probably my proudest achievement since launching my consulting business. I’m also very proud of the ice rink professionals networking group [of more than 1,400 members I founded]. I’ve put industry people from all over the world in touch. The industry is better when we can easily seek advice, explore resources and develop friendships with each other.