A wolf head design in the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A wolf head design in the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Douglas ice rink gets new lines featuring Northwest Coast art

Tsimshian artist and students design mid-ice artwork

What’s black and white and red all over?

The new 85-foot-long design that stretches across of the center of the ice inside Treadwell Arena.

This year, the red line that divides the rink in two, incorporates formline — a type of Northwest Coast art that uses ovoids, U forms and S forms — that was mostly drawn up by Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan and Body and Mind After School Program students.

“This is so cool,” Ryan said upon seeing the design on the ice for the first time Thursday afternoon. “This is fantastic. It stands out well. This is so much fun. Wow.”

Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan talks about a project to produce the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Ryan worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan talks about a project to produce the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Ryan worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The black formline depictions of eagles, wolves, bears, sea lions, beavers, oracas, mosquitoes and people are sandwiched by two thick red stripes.

[Juneau Legion wins third-straight title]

“There’s a lot of different things represented,” Ryan said.

He credited student Hunter Cameron with the idea of sticking to drawing animals found in Southeast Alaska.

A unique red line design is an annual tradition at Treadwell Arena, said Lauren Anderson, manager for Treadwell Arena.

“We never repeat the same design,” Anderson said.

In the past, Anderson said that’s meant doing things like working the Roman numerals XV into the red line for the arena’s 15th anniversary.

Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian, left, talks Treadwell Arena Manager Lauren Anderson, center, and Program Coordinator Thomas McKenzie about the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Ryan worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian, left, talks Treadwell Arena Manager Lauren Anderson, center, and Program Coordinator Thomas McKenzie about the red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Ryan worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

For this year, Anderson said Michael Brna, who leads maintenance for the arena, suggested something that incorporated Alaska Native artwork.

By pursuing the idea Anderson found herself in touch with both Ryan and Zach Gordon Youth Center manager Jorden Nigro.

While the students met twice weekly at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, Ryan taught BAM students some formline basics, and the students in turn drew formline animal heads.

Anderson and Ryan said Cameron and student Kia Abbott were particularly critical to the project’s ultimate success.

Since the project started in April and needed to be finished by about the end of the school year in May, Ryan handled drawing formline bodies, refining the students’ head drawings and creating transitions between the various designs.

Sealaska Heritage Institute, a nonprofit that protects and promotes Alaska Native culture and art, helped support the project and made small changes to the formline drawings, too.

Ryan said the original heads drawn by local children are still clear in the finished product.

“I wanted to make sure the head designs were maintained to the way the kids drew it,” Ryan said.

[Running club holds ‘keystone’ event]

The card stock works that Ryan and the students created were then digitized and colored in by Devyn Frugé, printing service coordinator for City and Borough of Juneau.

That saved a lot of time and Sharpie marker ink, Anderson and Ryan said.

“This is the first year we had it printed,” Anderson said.

The red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The red line at the Treadwell Arena on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan Tsimshian worked with students in the BAM After School Program to draw animals in Northwest Coast formline designs to be incorporated in the hockey rink ice. The Treadwell Arena opens for the season on Monday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

She said she was pleased with how it turned out and is excited for the red line to make its public debut when the arena opens for the season with a free skate on Monday.

By the time that happens, it’s hoped a second print of the red line will be hanging near the entrance of the Treadwell Arena wall.

Ryan said he’s excited for the kids to see their work.

“They’re already talking about the next one,” he said.

Know & Go

What: Treadwell Arena Season Opener

Where: Treadwell Arena, 105 Savikko Road, Douglas

When: 3:30-5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 5

Admission: Free


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in Sports

The Thunder Mountain High School Dance Team, shown here, ended their season with a superior-rated performance at their regional tournament. (Courtesy photo / Sonny Mauricio)
Dance teams round out a virtual season with superiority

Both earned the highest rating for their regional competition.

Members from the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys basketball team traveled to California to compete in an independent tournament on March 26, 2021 after high coronavirus levels squashed their hopes of going to the Alaska state championship. (Courtesy photo / Zoey Kriegmont)
Basketball players get final games in California

It may not have been a perfect ending but they got there together.

The Juneau Capitals swept six opposing 14U-Division A hockey teams en route to claiming a state title in Kenai over the March 19-21 weekend. (Courtesy Photo / Charity Platt)
Juneau 14U team excels on way to state title

The Juneau Capitals swept six opposing teams en route to claiming a state title in Kenai.

The Juneau Capitals claimed an 18-and-Under, Division A youth hockey title, grinding out four straight wins after opening the tournament with a tie. (Courtesy Photo / Mara Jennings)
Juneau 18U team grinds out a state title

They won four straight after opening the tournament with a tie.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears hockey team, posing here for a team photo at Twin Lakes, went through a gameless season in 2021, with all travel curtailed by the coronavirus. (Courtesy photo / Steve Quinn)
Resiliency and focus: Hockey coach looks back on limited season

Juneau’s club teams accounted handily for themselves, however.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé player Cooper Kriegmont holds the 2021 Region V championship plaque up for Juneau spectators following a 87-68 win over Ketchikan in the boys’ varsity Region V basketball championship at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Dustin Safranek / Ketchikan Daily News)
JDHS’ boys formidable season ends with win at Region V tournament

The Thunder Mountain girls were not so fortunate.

Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé senior Cooper Kriegmont shoots during a basketball game against Ketchikan on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Kriegmont and the JDHS boys will face Ketchikan for the title on March 20, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Lexie Razor)
JDHS boys ready for Ketchikan as TMHS looks back on season

JDHS will combat Ketchikan for the regional title Saturday.

This composite image shows JDHS girls basketball seniors Kate DeBuse  (top left), Ajah Bishop (top right), Jenae Pusich (bottom left) and Kiana Potter (bottom right). (Courtesy Photos)
Coach’s Comments: JDHS girls basketball

Submitted by Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls basketball coach Steve Potter.

Dallas Seavey poses with his dogs after crossing the finish line to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race race near Willow, Alaska, early Monday, March 15, 2021. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News, Pool)
Dallas Seavey wins Iditarod, matches most wins by a musher

At age 34, many believe he could one day become the Iditarod’s greatest champion.