New facility a 'hockey hub'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

The new building where the Maple Leafs will practise starting in the 2008-09 season has a chance to be so much more.

That's the opinion of Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson, who graciously accepted a $2 million commitment on behalf of the nation's governing hockey body from the Leafs yesterday at a news conference at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

FOCAL POINT

"This will be the hub for hockey in Ontario," Nicholson said. "It will be a focal point."

The money, spread out over seven years, will help support development programs and initiatives. Hockey Canada will have its Ontario regional office in the building, which the Leafs have dubbed Leafs Nation Hockey Headquarters. Also, the Hall of Fame's resource centre and archives will be housed there.

The $2 million is most money the Leafs Fund has given to any organization in a single shot.

Ground-breaking for the facility, on the west side of Kipling Ave., just north of Lakeshore Collegiate, will be in February or March. There will be four ice pads, including one Olympic-size sheet and three NHL-size sheets. It will allow Hockey Canada to have national camps in Toronto. Usually, those camps occur in Calgary, where Hockey Canada has its headquarters.

Some of the money from the Leafs will go toward programs such as scholarships for coaches, injury reporting and training of off-ice officials.

"It feels good to be able to do this," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said. "It's an exceptional day for us and the city."

Ferguson said there are no plans to move the Toronto Marlies to one of the new pads, which will have 4,000 seats, from the Ricoh Coliseum. And theLeafs do not have designs on a major junior club.


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