People had a chance to skate on Panorama Rec’s new ice surface for free on Sunday, during the official grand re-opening of Arena B.
Members of Peninsula Minor Hockey and the Peninsula Panthers Junior B hockey team joined children and their families for a day of fun in the parking lot, celebrating the completion of the $2.2 million renovation of the facility’s main ice surface.
Chair of the Peninsula Recreation Commission, Wayne Ruffle, said the new floor covers a brand new ice-making system that was installed into the twin arena facility earlier this year. The new rink in Arena B, he continued, is NHL-sized with safer boards (more give), higher glass for better visibility and spectator safety and team bench and penalty box spaces that have been relocated and made to meet regulations. Arena B seems a lot brighter as a result of the work and already is getting great reviews from some of the user groups that have been on the ice after it opened for use on October 6.
“The rink was moved over about 16 inches to make more room for players,” Ruffle noted. “It’s all standard. the boards with the glass are NHL (standard). The puck doesn’t leave the ice surface as much, going into the fan areas. It’s great.”
Work started on removing the old rink back in April, Ruffle said, and was essentially done the first week of October.
“The new rink will last at least 30 years,” he continued. “It’s state-of-the art … and it’ll last for years.”
In addition to the improvements mentions, the upgrade added flexible aluminum board frames for added players safety, a new public address and sound system, relocation of a row of seating and more efficient radiant spectator heaters.
“Our players are enjoying the extra space in the player box and enhanced game due to the new increased height of the glass,” said Pete Zubersky, General Manager and Governor of the Peninsula Panthers in a statement. “The new flexible boards provide an increase in safety for not only ours but all players.”
He added the work come in on budget and the revamped space will allow Panorama to host more regional and provincial tournaments and other events.
“We are very proud to be a sustainable facility and provide the best quality and experience for all our arena users.”
Ruffle said there is Hockeyville cash left over from their contest win two years ago. Change room benches are being spruced up, two 40-foot storage containers were added for use of local hockey a speed skating clubs. He said there is still money left over from the $100,000 cash award and there are ideas in the works but that will take more time to complete.
Arena B was part of the original recreation centre built in North Saanich in 1977 and was ready to be replaced after 40 years of service. Part of the funding for the renovation was a $500,000 Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Grant.