Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - Submitted by AIHL News Desk
With their $35M Playford Arena proposal receiving approval from Playford City Council, the Ice Rinks Adelaide development is one step closer to becoming the largest ice hockey facility in Australia.
In fact, with current plans, Stephen Campbell of Ice Rinks Adelaide says the ice sports centre will be the biggest in the southern hemisphere, featuring a double rink with a 3200+ seat ice hockey stadium plus corporate boxes, a 400-seat restaurant, function rooms and international standard competition rock climbing walls.
Meaning the Playford Arena would have 600 more seat capacity than Melbourne’s O’Brien Group Arena, which also has a double rink set-up.
“The Playford Arena will be the heart of Northern Adelaide,” says Stephen.
“The Arena, located immediately adjacent the Elizabeth Shopping Centre, will form an essential component of the northern CBD currently under development and will add another international and domestic sports asset to our sporting city.”
“We’re not looking to build just another recreational skate rink – with the Playford Arena we’re aiming to make Adelaide the centre of Australia’s ice hockey development.”
The City of Playford Council has approved the development and is working closely with Ice Rinks Adelaide and the State Government to make it happen. The $35 million development proposal is majority funded by private equity with a small level of assistance requested from the State Government. If the South Australian Cabinet approves funding in January 2017, construction is scheduled to commence in April 2017 and is expected to be complete by March 2018.
What does this mean for AIHL fans?
Tim Holden, Assistant Commissioner for the AIHL says, “Playford City Council’s approval of the Playford Arena proposal is great news for ice hockey in Australia.”
“As a national league, the AIHL welcomes additional facilities of this calibre which accommodates the strong growth of ice hockey across Australia. The focus on creating a place for players to hone their hockey craft on and off ice is also positive as it shines a light on the depth of player talent we available here.”
There’s already talk by the Ice Rinks Adelaide group on the possibility of having two AIHL teams in Adelaide and hosting international hockey events.
“The proposed Playford rink's size and configuration is what Adelaide needs in order to host to premiere AIHL events and international hockey tournaments,” says Tim.
What of the possibility for a second AIHL team?
“As all the AIHL clubs know, expanding the League by raising a new team is no simple feat,” notes Tim.
“In the approval process, the AIHL considers the benefits for, and effects on, the entire League, our fans and existing teams, in addition to the feasibility review of a new club. There are many facets to evaluate.”
For Adelaide Adrenaline President Eric Balnar, the focus on developing state-of-the-art facilities in Adelaide is exciting.
“Hockey fans in Adelaide deserve a rink of this caliber, which are already in place in Melbourne and Sydney. The conversation should not be about replacing one rink with another, ice hockey in Adelaide certainly needs the additional rink capacity.”
As for moving rinks?
“The Adelaide Adrenaline is very much at home at the Adelaide IceArena in Thebarton. While upgrades to the IceArena need to be made, the team is already looking forward to our 2017 Season. If you've never experienced ice hockey before, come out and get up close to all the action next year!”