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Cory Portner, CIRM


Cory Portner, CIRM

Cory is a leader in the ice rink industry with twenty-seven years of multi-faceted experience. He brings extensive competency in facility management, specializing in elite level skating and multipurpose events along with a proven track record of project management, business development, and revenue generation.

While attending the University of Nebraska for architecture, Cory began working in ice arenas in Lincoln, NE as a part-time employee at the Ice Box. The facility was home to the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. The energy of the gameday atmosphere drew him into the industry where he could combine his passion of architecture and sport.

Cory transfered from the Universtiy of Nebraska to St. Cloud State to pursue opportunities in sports facilities and business management. While attending SCSU, Cory worked as a student facility manager for both the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and the Municpal Athletic Complex aquiring hands-on experience at the collegiate and municipal levels.

Upon graduating, Cory landed the Director of Operations position in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the Mid-America Center (MAC). The facility housed a 7,000 seat arena and convention center and was home to the Lancers of the USHL. The experience provided an opportunity for professional growth with changeovers, concerts, and many other dry floor events. The convention center provided an opportunity to refine front of house skills and work with events on a more interpersonal level.

While managing the MAC, Cory had an opportunity to host Certified Ice Technician courses for the US Ice Rink Association (USIRA). In 2007 Cory moved to Colorado Springs, CO for the opportunity to work with the USIRA as Membership Director. Cory worked with the USIRA for a decade managing relations with members, liasing with state associations, leveraging USA Hockey and U.S. Figure Skating, working elite level skating events, and eventually becoming the Director of Education. The experience afforded Cory the opportunity to travel the country visiting thousands of rinks and interacting with other enthusiastic ice technicians.

Cory became the Chief Ice Tehcnician for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Over the course of two years, Cory traveled to South Korea to assist with the construction of two figure skating venues and a short track venue. He worked with the organizing committee to train Korean national staff members and assembled the final ice crew for short track speedskating and figure skating at the 2018 Olympic Games. The experience added international competition at the highest level to his portfolio.

After nearly three decades in the ice industry, his career has come full circle and is currently the Director of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University where he continues to give back to young arena professionals who are striving to raise the bar within our industry.

Cory currently serves as an At-Large representative for the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association.  Additionally, he serves as the President of the Board for Sports Arena East, Second Vice President for the Board of the Wisconsin Ice Arena Management Association, and a Facility Representative, Education Chair, and Executive Board member of the United States Ice Rink Association. Being an advocate for the ice industry is important to Cory and these opportunities continue to allow him to interact with national, state, and local level ice professionals to enhance services and industry education. 


Cory’s event experience is vast, and the list continues to grow.  He has worked elite-level figure skating, speedskating, and ice hockey events with National and International Governing Bodies.  He remains active with the NCHC and NCAA Collegiate events and has been involved with outdoor games including USA Hockey’s Pond Hockey National Championships in Eagle River, WI, and multiple Hockey Day Minnesota events.  

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