Meet Edina's Hometown Heroes

Edina is made up of people who pride themselves with making the city a great place for living, learning, raising families and doing business.

Alex Christianson

April 2014 -- It may very well be the coldest place in Edina, but Alex and Ted Christianson have a warm spot in their hearts for Braemar Arena.

The Edina couple’s fondness for the City-owned facility stems, in part, from a love for winter sports that stretches back to childhood. Ted, who grew up in the area, enjoyed the privilege of learning how to skate and play hockey on the same ice sheets used by the championship teams that first solidified Edina’s reputation as a hockey powerhouse.

When Alex and Ted had children of their own, it was only natural for this passion for ice sports to come full circle. “We enrolled our two kids in Braemar’s ’Learn to Skate’ program,” Alex said. “After that, our daughter became quite involved with figure skating, and our son joined hockey at the ‘termite’ level.”

This extracurricular involvement gave Alex a new, rounded appreciation for the value that Braemar Arena brings to the community.

“Braemar is a home away from home for a lot of young people. … Kids who figure skate or play hockey spend a lot of time there, and not just on the ice. In between lessons and before games, they do homework and they socialize. They’ve really made it their space.”

Alex sees these dynamics play out on a near-daily basis. She has volunteered her time and expertise in a number of capacities over the years. “I’ve been a hockey team manager, manager for the Beginner II Synchro team, and even served for a bit on the board of the Braemar-City of Lakes Figure Skating Club.”
She is also a driving force behind the new DREAM Learn to Skate program, a collaboration between the City, Braemar-City of Lakes Figure Skating Club (BCLFSC) and the Edina Hockey Association to create quality skating opportunities for children and teens with disabilities. 

Ted, for his part, keeps quite busy as a coach for ‘squirt’ and ‘peewee’ hockey at Braemar.

Minnesota may not lack for skating venues, but the Christiansons point out that Braemar has emerged as a true community center in a way that most can no more than aspire to be. “I think caring staff and great amenities are what create that ‘home away from home’ atmosphere,” Alex explained.

Those amenities, in turn, are paid for in part by revenue from the City’s three Edina Liquor stores. In 2013, $160,000 of Edina Liquor profits was transferred to the Braemar Arena coffers.

“I hope people know this. … Once I learned that profits go back to the public, not into the pocket of an owner somewhere, I didn’t shop anywhere else,” Alex said.

She points to a number of recent aesthetic changes and service expansions as examples of these funds in action. “There are things you might notice right away. There’s a new lobby layout and an improved concessions stand. Tables and chairs were recently added. [There’s also] a new Braemar logo on the floor, plus a nice wall mural. A fresh coat of paint always makes a nice impression!”
Of course, “there’s also a lot of important routine work that goes on behind the walls, and under the ice,” she added. Maintaining three NHL regulation-sized sheets indoors comes at a cost. “Edina Liquor funds help greatly there, too.”

Consider it a solid investment in many more skating tournaments and hockey championships to come.

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