The Hez Ray Sports Complex is named after Hez Houston Ray, a can-do teacher who came to Fairbanks in 1952. His friends called him an “irresistible force,” when advocating for youth sports, and he was well-known for his unusual and concerted efforts to get any job done. One of his most complex—and famous—schemes involved the development of the Big Dipper Ice Arena that now resides at the Hez Ray Sports Complex. The Big Dipper was once a World War II Lend-Lease hangar that was located in Tanacross, Alaska. In 1968, Hez Ray spearheaded the effort to disassemble the building and fly it to Fairbanks for resurrection as Fairbanks’ first indoor ice arena. Hez Ray went on to become the City’s Recreation Director and then the first Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) Director of Parks & Recreation. A bronze plaque at the Big Dipper commemorates his passion for youthsports. The Hez Ray Sports Complex has continued to expand over the years and now includes a wide range of sports and recreation facilities including those highlighted below.
Big Dipper Ice Arena Big Dipper Ice Arena - a multi-purpose arena that is open year-round. It includes:
- An Indoor Walking/Jogging Track
- Locker Rooms
- A Conference Room
- Birthday Party Room
- Skate Rental
Outdoor Hockey Rinks
- 3 rinks are provided for public use, including lunchtime, pick-up hockey games.
- The outdoor rinks are a novelty and extremely popular with the North American Hockey League teams that compete against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs every March
Kiwanis Football Field - used by both high school and youth football teams for practice and competition.
Hez Ray Softball Fields - 4 softball fields managed by the Golden Heart Softball Association for adult men’s, women’s and coed softball, one of the biggest, recreational sports in Fairbanks.
21 Soccer Fields - managed and maintained by Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association.
An Outdoor Walking/Jogging Track