International Arena

Whether returning to their hometown or to a favorite family vacation spot, for many Minnesotans the Fourth of July holiday is a chance to head north to celebrate our nation’s independence with parades, fireworks, and spending time at the lake. This year as part of Lake of the Woods Fourth of July week festivities, the community will celebrate the opening of the Lake of the Woods International Arena with a Community Skate and BBQ dinner.

This event will be the first opportunity for many community members and alumni to tour the new arena, which was built thanks to a generous $6-million-dollar anonymous donation and a continuing community capital campaign. The new state-of-the-art arena will be home to the Lake of the Woods youth hockey and high school programs but also act as the hub for a variety of community uses. In order to ensure the proper management and success of the new facility the Arena Board recently hired their first management employee, Samantha Lyon.

After a successful nonprofit career in Boston, Mass., Sam came home to the Lake of the Woods community in December of 2018 expecting to stay in the area for a short time as she looked to find employment in the Cities. While she didn’t expect to stay home very long, the opportunity to be the first arena director was too appealing to pass up. Sam grew up playing hockey for Lake of the Woods and was energized by the opportunity to give back to her hometown and help the organization with her organizational development and leadership skills.

“I am excited about the potential of the new arena to serve the community through hockey and a variety of other community uses. Part of what I was looking for was to be the Executive Director of a small nonprofit that would provide me the opportunity to perform a diversity of roles in meeting the mission of the organization.”

In addition to her professional pursuits, Sam has taken advantage of returning home by embracing the pace of life offered in Lake of the Woods County. For Sam, this includes gathering fresh asparagus and morel mushrooms, coaching 12U softball, spending evenings on the lake, and appreciating the magic of the Northwoods.

“Living in the area has been energizing, the pace of life allows you to relax and spend your time on activities you really enjoy.”

If you’ll be around the area for the Fourth of July, come to the First Community Skate in the new arena on July 6 th at 5pm. The event will include a ribbon cutting, community photo, open skating, and a smoked brat dinner compliments of Lakewood’s Food.


Open Skating: 5p-8p
Some skates will be available to rent!

Commemorative Big Group Photo: 5:15p*
*We’d like to mark the opening of the new rink with a big group photo. All are encouraged to join, so get there early if you want to be in the picture!

BBQ Dinner: 5:30p-7p – Featuring locally smoked brats from Lake of the Woods Smokehouse!
Adults – $10
Kids – $8
*** Bring your 4th of July Button for a $2 discount!

For more information, contact Samantha Lyons at  (218) 434-0307 or or check them out on Facebook at



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