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University of Saskatchewan announces plan for new $41-million rink
Published Thursday, October 13, 2016 3:34PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, October 13, 2016 8:42PM CST
A new rink is officially in the works at the University of Saskatchewan.
University officials, joined by alumni, Huskie athletes and minor hockey representatives, announced plans Thursday for a new $41-million twin-ice facility to be built on campus, near the Saskatoon Field House.
The new arena, which is expected to accommodate 1,830 spectators and be built with the potential to expand to 2,310 seats, will replace the nearly 90-year-old Rutherford Rink and be dubbed Merlis Belsher Place. The name honours a $12.25-million donation from U of S commerce and law graduate Merlis Belsher.
The donation, also announced Thursday, is the largest from an alumnus and individual in the university’s history.
“I made this donation because of my gratitude for the University of Saskatchewan — it provided me with confidence and education in two professions,” Belsher said in a media release. “That was my doorway to a satisfying career in the manufacturing industry.”
The new arena will feature two ice surfaces, including a main 90-foot surface, a double gymnasium, 12 dressing rooms and additional change rooms for coaches and mixed-gender team participants, a two-storey main lobby, food and lounge facilities, and a pro shop.
A space to eventually host convocation and the university’s Graduation Powwow is also included in the plans. Locker spaces for the Huskies men’s and women’s soccer teams — whose outdoor fields are located near the arena’s planned location — will also be built, and campus rec hockey players and minor hockey athletes will also be given access to the facility.
“Over the past number of years, we’ve talked to current and former Huskies, local hockey organizations, our own campus community and people across the province. The message was clear: partner with the community to create more ice time for youth as well as to allow access for other sports that would create new opportunities for our city and province,” said Peter Stoicheff, the university’s president.
Thursday’s announcement also marked the launch of the arena’s Home Ice fundraising campaign, which will ask local minor hockey organizations and community volunteers to raise $7 million for the facility.
Alumnus and former NHL coach Dave King is leading the campaign.
“This facility will provide our men’s and women’s Huskie hockey teams with a high-quality, fan-friendly facility, but it is more than that. This new ice facility will also improve the student experience by providing more ice time for our campus rec hockey enthusiasts,” King said.
A timeline for the arena’s construction and opening date has yet to be determined.