SUN Hockey Pool

Iceplex officially opens

KEN WIEBE, Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:35 PM ET

Manitoba’s newest sports complex has officially opened its doors.

While the MTS Iceplex and Hockey Canada Centre of Excellence has been operational since Aug. 15, the 172,000 square foot building held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday that included many high-profile dignitaries.

“You can sense the excitement in the room for this brand new facility opening up and it’s nice to see it in action,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “The larger story about facilities like this is creating more opportunities for recreation for young people. We want more people doing constructive things with their free time.

“I know this will serve the community for years to come, it will serve professional hockey, amateur hockey, it will bring tournaments to town and it will allow Winnipeg to go on the map as a hockey centre in this country. And it’s a solid foundation for other great things to come in the future.”

The facility features four NHL-sized rinks.

“It’s really quite a cross-section of the hockey spectrum,” said Steven Fletcher, member of parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia and the minister of state for Democratic Reform. “The value of sports venues such as these cannot be emphasized enough.”

The MTS Iceplex is home to local teams including the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, the Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League and the Balmoral Hall Blazers women’s team.

“It’s a wonderful addition to Wininpeg’s growing amateur hockey community and a much-needed addition to Winnipeg’s recreational infrastructure,” said True North Sports & Entertainment CEO Jim Ludlow.

Manitoba Moose governor Mark Chipman was impressed the project was completed on time and on budget.

“We were standing in a field less than a year ago,” said Chipman. “When I was a kid growing up playing hockey in this community, there were a whole bunch of new arenas and that dates me, I suppose. Most of them were built during the provincial and federal centennial. For those of you involved in the game in minor hockey, there’s little question that many of those facilities have run their course. Unfortunately, the ways of financing them don’t exist perhaps the way they did 40 years ago. We were absolutely delighted and very proud to be part of a unique funding formula that brought this project about.”

That formula included $11.7 million in joint funding under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund and another $14.9 million from True North Sports & Entertainment.

Chipman believes the building will be more than just a hockey rink moving forward.

“What we’ve seen already is that this is more than just four sheets of ice,” said Chipman. “We were hoping it would be a community meeting place and having been here almost every day since it opened, it very much is. We’re very excited about the community feel that we feel in here every day.”


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