The future for minor hockey facilities today is trending toward the construction of multiplex facilities, which are multiple sheets of ice under the same roof. They would tap into most of the same infrastructure and utilize the common amenities.
Moncton, the fastest-growing city in New Brunswick, has just completed a multiplex arena with all the ice hockey amenities. The complex has greatly alleviated the minor hockey congestion in that city and obviously, it was the way to go.
Over the last few years, Prince Edward Island has experienced substantial growth in minor hockey registrations, especially at the female level. To accommodate the increase, some twinning of ice sheets has occurred and it seems that we are trending in the right direction.
The Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association, of which I was once president, relies heavily on two older buildings that are both over 50 years old and facing likely demolition. After the demise of the Simmons Sports Arena and Cody Banks Arena, the solution to Charlottetown's minor hockey ice time shortage could rest with the construction of a multi-purpose arena preferable for sheets under one roof: The Charlottetown Fourplex. This would be as futuristic as the rest of Canada and would indeed be the panacea for Charlottetown's minor hockey ailments.
Let's consider a hypothetical situation, for the construction of a Charlottetown fourplex. Let's go to the Power Centre, that is the intersection of the Charlottetown bypass and Malpeque Road.
The Power Centre is anchored by Leon's and Kent Building Supplies on opposite corners and Andrews' senior establishment and the cottages opposite the vacant lot where the Charlottetown Four-Plex could be located. The realization of a fourplex would, no doubt, alleviate most of minor hockey's problems. Recreational hockey, minor hockey, figure skating, ringette and public skating could all be accommodated in conjunction with the two ice surfaces on the UPEI campus. Six state-of-the-art rinks in a little over a kilometre is not a bad solution to a minor hockey dilemma.
The location of the fourplex would not be an intrusion into residential areas because of the topography of the land. Accessibility to the venue would not be an issue because of easy access and egress to the main highways. Town planning and purchase of the land for the facility would be city issues that could no doubt be fast-tracked pending demolition of the two older arenas.
The one-kilometre stretch from UPEI to the Power Centre corner contains not only the university amenities but a wide range of restaurants, a nice mixture of accommodations, the largest shopping mall in P.E.I. and the facilities to host any size tournament in Atlantic Canada.
The three scenarios that I have presented are merely options for the rink builders and are fully intended to get tongues wagging.
Ian (Tex) MacDonald is a former mayor of Charlottetown. This is Part 3 of a three-part series on arenas. Part 1 ran Feb. 26 and Part 2 ran March 9 in print.