Sensplex a capital idea for minor hockey

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

Ottawa has a new rink of dreams. Make that four.

With Senators owner Eugene Melnyk on hand, the Bell Sensplex officially opened yesterday. The facility includes four ice surfaces, an indoor field and a coaching centre named after the late legendary Ottawa assistant coach Roger Neilson.

The Senators and other NHL teams visiting the city will use the rink about 20 times a year for practice. And the building will be a major home for minor hockey in the area, including the Bell Capital Cup.

"This is just an outstanding facility," said Melnyk.

"Speaking as somebody who just came out of Toronto, they would absolutely kill for a facility like this."

Construction on the $25.6-million complex started in March and was completed in short order. Ottawa's first private-public sector facility promises to be well-used.

"With more than 35,000 kids playing hockey in the Ottawa district, it's always my concern that we have enough facilities," said Ottawa District Hockey Association president Jules Lavictoire. "You look around and there's a lot of municipalities who would love to have something like this."

Melnyk presented 114 children from Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa with a pair of skates, a helmet and a jersey before hitting the ice himself.

"This will give kids a chance to play hockey and it keeps a lot of kids off the street," said Melnyk. "To have all this in one place is just great. The group that put this together did it right and this is just spectacular."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com 


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