By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Construction of the new Gateway Ice Centre is expected to be completed this month at the corner of South Service and Fruitland roads.
“We’re hoping for an end of November opening,” centre co-owner and president Danny Trombetta said. “It may look like there hasn’t been much on the outside done, but there’s a lot of activity on the inside. The compressors are being installed to make the ice, all the lights are up on rink one and partly on rink two, railings are being installed, the HVAC is being installed, concrete is being poured and finished, there’s probably 40 or more people working inside.”
The $25-million, approximate 130,000-square-foot centre will feature two NHL-sized rinks, one slightly smaller rink and an 8,000-square-foot 5-Star Fitness and Nutrition Centre, with membership open to the public.
A Don Cherry’s Sports Grill, with connecting outdoor patio overlooking rink one, will be located on the second floor, while a three-lane rubberized wraparound running track, with five sprinting lanes, will be atop rink two. A sport shop, with skate sharpening and free Wi-Fi, also will be on site.
“This project will probably create about 120 jobs,” Trombetta said. “We also have tried to use as many local contractors and tradespeople as possible. All the materials, as much as possible, are local or from Ontario.”
The facility will accommodate 2,400 spectators, including 1,600 in rink one in a bowl shape around the ice. The other two rinks will allow for 400 spectators each.
Tenants will include the Stoney Creek Junior B Warriors hockey team and Stoney Creek Girls Hockey Association, which has scored 2014 Esso Cup host honours. The Steel City Hockey league also will call Gateway Ice Centre home.
“We’re basically 92 to 95 per cent booked on our prime-time hours,” Trombetta said. “We also have (Verve Academy of Skating) director Amanda Covre, who will be running learn to skate, pre-figure skating, professional figure skating programs for the public; we’ve had a great turn out of registrants. Essentially, people are going to be able to come in here to use the ice, exercise, grab a bite to eat, learn how to skate or simply kick back.”
Centre project manager Tony Falasca said crews have been working around the clock, seven days a week to get the facility up and running.
“Nobody’s more eager to see it open than we are, we go to sleep dreaming about this place,” he said. “We went around to a lot of rinks, took the best idea out of here, the best idea out of there and put it all together. It’s going to be like no other rink, it’s going to be spectacular.”
Trombetta said the centre will be a ‘go-to place’ for all to enjoy.
“It gives people a new, safe place to come and it will have everything that you need,” he said. “We’re basically 20 minutes from anywhere you want to be, we have onsite parking and plenty of activities to keep you busy, whether you’re looking to just skate, play hockey, exercise, take in a meal or simply have fun. It’s a beautiful project and we couldn’t be more excited about bringing it to the community.”