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New rink for IceDogs a must for City of St. Catharines - For their own good...

It is disheartening to see that the city of St. Catharines is doing the bare minimum in regards to a new arena for the OHL IceDogs. The Jack Gatecliff Arena is currently the oldest rink in the Ontario Hockey League and offers IceDog fans run down concessions, washrooms, seating, corridors and more. The fan experience upon visiting the outdated IceDog arena is unfortunately, for lack of a better term, subpar.

The IceDogs have heightened the city with a tremendous amount of community involvement and charitable work. Not to mention, the team sheds light on an otherwise struggling St.Catharines downtown. It is highly disappointing to see that St. Catharines city officials are not doing more to accommodate them. If the city has intentions of seeing the IceDogs remain in St. Catharines they have no other choice but to step up to the plate and support the team with a new facility. It is to point of embarrassment that a region this size is struggling to support an OHL franchise.

The construction of a new facility is critical to St. Catharines as it would market the city and region and provide intangible benefits to the surrounding community. Using tax dollars to subsidize a sport complex will always bring rise to discrepancy; however the economic trade-off of a new facility will provide tax revenue to the city and surrounding areas. So, even the taxpayers who do not enjoy hockey will in some way or form reap the benefits. It is also important to keep in mind the increase of quality-of-life benefits surrounding the community. These benefits are often not included in debate over subsidizing sport facilities due to the fact they are difficult to measure.

A major quality-of-life benefit that a new rink would provide the city with is the knowledge that local government is putting forth effort to develop unity throughout the community. Ever since the IceDog’s inaugural season (2007) a growing sense of pride has grown amongst citizens of St. Catharines.
Seeing former IceDog players such as Alex Pietrangelo represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and expand his footprint in the NHL allows Niagara fans to relate back to the team with satisfaction of their efforts in developing high-caliber players. Not long ago, Windsor built a brand new facility which indicates the city appreciates the significance of sport and recreation to the success of its municipality. This being said, it would be appropriate to point out that Windsor is marked as having the highest unemployment rate amongst all major Canadian cities.

The IceDogs five-year lease of the Jack Gatecliff Arena is set to expire in 2012, a rather short time frame in terms of constructing a new rink. The ultimate decision of whether or not the IceDogs remain in St. Catharines is in hands of local politicians who hopefully realize that not only do the IceDogs deserve a new facility, but so does the community.

Vicky Grygar
In the O Radio blogging team

Comments :

7 comments to “New rink for IceDogs a must for City of St. Catharines - For their own good...”
John Beam said...

They don't want a rink they want a Palace a showcase of sorts. I ran for mayor on that one issue and did my homework on the pricing of the building. But yet no one has even come up to me and asked what it is. The mayor told me his consultants told him it could not be done.
There's the problem the consultant's maybe if they ever went to a hockey game then they could build arenas that work.
Pretend the city was the contractor, break the arena down to it's basic parts.
Your main thing is the ice surface and the concrete the building sits on.
Second is your seating with out that no cash coming in.
Third you need a building to cover the ice surface and the seats from the elements.
Now you need concessions and washrooms for the people to use.
Then there is all the little details as hydro ,water ,sewage.

My proposal is below.

Stan Mikita
Community Centre
Muti-Use spectator facility

1/ 144,000 sq ft building
2/ 6,600 retractable seats, 32 Luxury boxes.
3/ 82,000 sq ft of open convention space 100 ft ceiling.
4/ Banquet facilities for up to 6,800 people.
5/ Concerts up to 10,000
6/ Full professional kitchen /partnership with Niagara college possible?
7/ Will be one of the greenest buildings in Canada.
First zero waste facility of this size in North America.
9/ little or no cost to local taxpayers (land )
10/ Self supporting funding model (federal approval needed) No taxpayer dollars needed.
Had talked to provincial officials and they said was federal matter on the funding model.
Talked to some feds and was invited to go to Ottawa to talk further about it.
But seeing I have to work for a living and don't have vast sums of money and am doing most of this by myself with no help from those that want a facility.
I don't have time. Let the public know about the other option cause the way your going the dogs will be gone.

Thanks John Beam

Anonymous said...

Yeah, too bad the City of St. Catharines totally blew it by not doing that with the 4 Pad. Perfect location, plenty of parking, and had the room to build at least one 5000 plus seating rink.

Instead they produced a mediocre minor hockey rink that doesn't even have the capacity to host Jr. B games. The rink boards and glass are horrible and can't handle big shots/hits.

Plus, how does every other city seem to do it? St. Catharines alone has over 130,000 people. It's pathetic our council can't even get it together enough to get it right in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Rumours circulating about constructing the new rink between WhiteOaks and Leons. If the city of St. Catharines is in too deep of a struggle to keep the IceDogs downtown, this proposal offers the benefit of potential private investors. Re-constructing the Jack Gatecliff arena is something that will need to be done in only a matter of time. However, re-constructing the Jack Gatecliff arena for the IceDogs would be a lost cause. Even if it was rebuilt the rink does not have the capacity to sustain an OHL team. The City of St. Catharines needs to support this team before another area comes in (Chatham? unlikely, but there has been talk about it) and offers the IceDogs a new home.

Anonymous said...

Tear down Gatecliff and Rex Stimers and put one 6,000 seat arena and complex at that location. Agree that it would be a tremendous shame if the Burkes get fed up with the lack of support and take the team elsewhere. It`s happened too many times before.

Anonymous said...

GM has alot of land that will need to be turned over....

Anonymous said...

The OHL wants a it in the downtown and so do the IceDogs, let's keep our eye on the ball and get it built.

Blayzer said...

All great points.. Something needs to be done, they're not asking for a palace, simply an arena that will meet the standards of every other arena in the OHL. Other cities can get it together, why can't we?

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