Ice Skating came to Huntsville in 1959 when Mr. Benton H. Wilcoxon opened the Ice Palace off of Governor’s Drive. The Ice Palace operated as a profitable private corporation for 27 years. On September 11, 1986, Mr. Wilcoxon donated the Ice Palace to the City of Huntsville and it became a municipal facility.
In September 1986 the Ice Palace Board of Control (BoC), a City appointed board, and other concerned citizens embarked on a five-year plan to replace the Ice Palace with a larger and more adequate skating facility for the City of Huntsville. In March 1988 a committee was established by the Ice Palace Board of Control to study and recommend a specific expansion proposal for a new complex. This group eventually evolved into FRIA, the Friends of Recreational Ice Activities, and a coalition of regular users of the Ice Palace. On May 8, 1989, FRIA and the Ice Palace BoC made their initial presentation to the Mayor and the City Council for the proposed skating complex. Over the next two years FRIA raised and donated funds required to build the facility. At the Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex our mission is to provide a fun, safe and professional environment inspiring all members of the community regardless of skill level to get involved in ice related activities.
The new facility, the Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex, opened to the public on December 15, 1991. It was a world class facility featuring two separate ice surfaces with many supporting amenities. At that time there were few facilities with two ice sheets in the Southeast. The facility serves a user community consisting of three main components: figure skating, hockey and the casual recreational ice skater. The facility has a pro shop located on-site and is also home to some non-ice related activities such as physical training, ballet and hosting meetings.
Friends of Recreational Ice Activities meets as needed and reports monthly to the Ice Complex Board of Control.
The Ice Complex has been and continues to be home to countless of hockey tournaments, figure skating competitions and public events in support of ice related activities in the Huntsville, AL and surrounding areas.