Progress 2011: Ice ManPublished 1:30pm Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Hero: Bob Furland
Secret identity: Albert Lea Parks and Recreation facilities manager
Base of operations: Albert Lea City Arena
Superpowers: dealing with people, bringing in new events and working with outside groups
Kryptonite: dealing with budgets cuts
Affiliations: wife, Susan; sons Thomas and Timmy
Origin: Born and raised in Albert Lea, Furland worked at the City Arena as a skate guard during high school before graduating from Albert Lea High School in 1981. Then-rink manager Marv Bednar encouraged Furland to take an arena management program at Red Wing Technical College. After graduating from RWTC, Furland works at ice rinks in Michigan, Wisconsin and in Kasson before accepting a position at the City Arena in 1998.
“I was lucky enough to come back to Albert Lea,” he said.
“In 38 years I’ve never had a disagreement with Bob about ice time and he’s been very accommodating for the Albert Lea High School teams. He’s a fine fellow and a great friend.” — Roy Nystrom, Albert Lea boys’ hockey coach
“We were very fortunate 13 years ago to have Bob join our staff as Arena Manager. Since then, he has increased the usage of the facility and has done a great job of providing the ice skating public of Albert Lea with a first-rate facility. He has a great working relationship with all the users of our ice sheets and because of his connections, he has brought in additional users of the facility. He keeps up with new technology and has overseen a number of projects that has upgraded the facility making it one of the nicest ice facilities in the area. Bob is just a nice guy to work with.” — Jay Hutchinson, Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Director
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Bob since moving to Albert Lea in 2001. Personally, Bob has always been supportive and helpful whether it be providing available ice times for Mites, Atoms, high school, or men’s league teams to offering to be a league president on behalf of the Albert Lea Blades. Bob Furland is a class act who has done a tremendous job of promoting the game of hockey for people of all ages in Albert Lea. We are lucky to have a person of such tremendous character in our community.” — Jason Fornwald, speech-language pathologist at Lakeview Elementary School, former Albert Lea girls’ hockey head coach
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with rink managers all over North America and Bob Furland is by far the most helpful, most friendly rink manager I’ve had the opportunity to interact with. More than that, he’s a great person, a great family man and somebody this community can definitely be proud of.” — Paul Willet, Albert Lea girls’ hockey coach