Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners Press Release

‘Due to a failed component recovered from the Pool area of the Kaliseum, the Board of Commissioners believe it is necessary to have an inspection performed to assure that the structural integrity of the pool area is safe for public use. It is therefore deemed necessary to close the pool area immediately until such study can be performed and any necessary repairs are completed'

 By Mark Urban murban@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — The fight is not over.

It’s just that the next round inside the ropes will be in a different location.

Trigger Boxing is moving to The Kaliseum in Kalkaska, ending a 32-year run at various locations in and around Traverse City. Owners Bill and Robbin Bustance said they will continue their “mission” of helping the community, especially at-risk kids.

They’ll just be doing it 24 miles to the east, starting on April 16.

Even though he admits to feeling melancholy about leaving, Bill Bustance said relocating to a county that was 77th among the state’s 83 counties in terms of Overall Child Well-Being in the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book squarely fits inside the ring of what Trigger strives to accomplish.

“Boxing is kind of a poor sport sometimes,” said the 66-year-old Bill. “It was always a place where poor people could raise themselves up and this will give them an opportunity to rise up in Kalkaska.”

“It truly feels like a next chapter,” added Robbin Bustance, 57. “I think it’s another opportunity for us.”

Trigger Boxing has been located at 1220 Woodmere Ave. for the last 13 years.

After the building was paid off a couple of years ago, the Bustances were exploring other locations around Traverse City that would be more affordable. Bill Bustance said similar boxing clubs downstate often are located in vacant former government buildings or churches, sometimes rent-free.

“We tried to stay,” he said. “We really tried to stay.”

“We’ve exhausted all efforts to look for a place in Grand Traverse County,” Robbin Bustance added.

Trigger Boxing’s at-risk youth program was subsidized for years by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and other grants. The facilitation of that grant through Grand Traverse County was on the ropes in June of 2012 before a compromise was reached to continue.

A previous working relationship with Kaliseum director Krzysztof Oliwa eventually led to a one-year contract to move Trigger Boxing to Kalkaska. Trigger also has worked with SEEDS at the facility.

Robbin Bustance said it was easy to look forward to the new union.

“They want us there, they need us there, they’re happy to have us there,” she said. “It’s really hard to be sad because we can continue to do what we do here.”

Oliwa also is looking forward to Trigger’s arrival.

“Adding them to our programs here at the Kaliseum will have amazing benefits for Kalkaska County and beyond,” Oliwa said. “It’s very exciting.”

Oliwa said a lot of the details still need to be worked out. But Oliwa remembers the “huge health benefits” of boxing when he played in the NHL.

Known as a physical player, Oliwa had 1,447 penalty minutes during 410 regular season games. He said an hour of boxing often felt like getting hit by a semi truck, but was “a tremendous workout if you want to stay in shape.”

Oliwa added the professionalism of the Bustances and their 30-plus years of experience will contribute to his vision of making The Kaliseum one of the best places in northern Michigan.

“Me as the director of The Kaliseum, the members and the people I’ve spoken to in the community are very excited that he’s coming,” said Oliwa, the only Polish player to get his name on the Stanley Cup.

Plans are for Trigger Boxing to have all its equipment out of the building by Sunday for the move to Kalkaska. The new boxing club will be located above the hockey rink in the Kaliseum.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” Robbin Bustance said.

The boxing ring again will be at the center of the new space in Kalkaska.

Inflatable boxing gloves that hang above the ring in Traverse City from a Toughman contest also will make the move, in addition to an American flag, a gift from a former pupil. Bill Bustance said the former Trigger Boxing Club member remembered an expression while in a particularly harried moment as a jet pilot in Iraq.

“You can do anything out there for two minutes,” Bill Bustance recalls his former pupil telling him. “Go out there and finish.”

Trigger Boxing also will take lots of memories from working with an Olympic champion, three national and nine state champions. But there’s also working with “lots and lots of kids,” Bill Bustance said.

“Boxing is a small little pond once you get to know people,” he said.

After the club gets settled in Kalkaska, Robbin Bustance said they want to hold an alumni picnic, “invite anyone who’s ever come through this place” and share stories as Trigger Boxing Club goes into the next round of its saga.

Since the Bustances live in Williamsburg, moving to Kalkaska should be seamless for the couple.

“You go to (M-72) and its 20 minutes right, it’s 20 minutes left,” Robin joked.

Matt-writter blk

Matt Mackinder 


KALKASKA, Michigan – There are many choices and options when it comes to the pool at the Kalkaska Kaliseum and Recreation Complex.

Want to learn to swim? We can help with that.

Can you swim a little and want to get better? We can help there, too.

An advanced swimmer who wants to keep improving? Yep, we can take care of that.

The swimming classes at the Kaliseum are available for individuals of all ages – from the youngest of children at three years old to adults of all ages

“Our knowledgeable staff is very patient and willing to work with anyone of any age and any skill level,” said Kaliseum director Krzysztof Oliwa. “We are growing at a rapid level and classes are filling up fast. That is a great sign for this area and we continue to show that we are the premier location for fitness and sports in all of Northern Michigan.”

Private classes and lessons are available, as well as Cruisers Drop-In.

Cruisers Drop-In is a practice where current team members can come in and do a workout to get back into shape for the season. New swimmers or swimmers interested in possibly joining the team are welcome and encouraged to participate. The coaches for the team will be on-site to work with new swimmers, and will give them an idea of what the team and practice is like. Emphasis is on competitive strokes, starts, and turns.

This is not something team members are required to sign-up for, but is a good idea for any team members who want to continue their training and practice.

Oliwa said the swimming program is a source of pride for the Kaliseum and the Kalkaska community.

“We see so many smiles from the kids and adults alike when they are in the pool,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

For more information, please visit www.kaliseum.org.



KALKASKA, Mich. – Kalkaska Kaliseum and Recreation Complex director Krzysztof Oliwa knows a thing or two about building successful programs.

Since arriving in Kalkaska a handful of years ago, Oliwa has built the Kalkaska Rhinos junior hockey program into one of the most prestigious in all of the United States Premier Hockey League and continues to grow the Jr. Rhinos youth program.

For the 2017-18 season, the Jr. Rhinos will have teams at the U6, U8, U10, U12 and U14 levels and are still seeking players for the U14 squad.

The girls K-Stars hockey program is also increasing its registrations and has been very successful.

“We want to bring hockey back to Kalkaska,” said Oliwa. “And that is at all levels – youth, junior, adult and with the K-Stars. This is a great community and facility to develop or fine-tune your hockey skills and we are proud to say we have something for everyone.”

Oliwa noted that creating and maintaining a figure skating program at the Kaliseum is in the works.

And while the cost of ice time can be costly, buying ice at the Kaliseum can have its perks, according to Oliwa.

“If a team commits to us for 12hrs per month, we’ll sell you ice for $100 an hour,” Oliwa said. “There are not any better ice rates anywhere in the country, certainly not here in Michigan. We want to make this affordable for the Kalkaska community.

“We have many programs in place and we want to continue to grow.”

More programs on and off the ice will soon be coming to the Kaliseum, so stay tuned for those announcements.

For more information, please visit www.kaliseum.org.



KALKASKA, Michigan. – The Kalkaska Kaliseum and Recreation Complex is more than just a building located at 1900 Fairground Road.

According to the complex’s director, Krzysztof Oliwa, the Kaliseum is “the best of the best in Northern Michigan.”

The facility is home to the Kalkaska Rhinos junior hockey team in the United States Premier Hockey League, the Rhinos youth hockey program (Kalkaska Area Hockey Association) with teams at the U6, U8, U10, U12 and U14 levels, the K-Stars – a girls hockey program, drop-in hockey, a learn to skate program and soon, figure skating.

And that’s just on the ice.

Off the ice, the Kaliseum boasts two pools, swim classes for both children and adults and a gym that will soon see $100,000 in upgrades.

“We have something for everyone here,” said Oliwa, a former NHL player who won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2000. “The Kaliseum is really a top-notch destination for those looking to reach their goals. We have high standards here and we make it easy for those individuals looking to train, get in shape or just enjoy hockey or swimming.”

The Kaliseum is located on the site of the fairgrounds, a 6.5-acre complex that includes a variety of amenities that are used year-round and as the site of the Kalkaska County Fair.

The fairgrounds includes six baseball diamonds, soccer fields, the aforementioned arena with bleachers, a horse arena, livestock buildings, a concession stand, and picnic areas. Indoor exhibit, event and meeting space is available in the Civic Center building. A community garden is also located on the fairgrounds site and produce raised in the garden is donated to the Kalkaska Senior Center.

A number of community events, including the Kalkaska Trout Festival, Winterfest, monthly concerts, outdoor movies, and other community-oriented activities such as fundraising events, are held at the fairgrounds.

Both the Kaliseum and fairgrounds are available for rental use.

More programs on and off the ice will soon be coming to the Kaliseum, so stay tuned for those announcements.

For more information, please visit www.kaliseum.org.