Collingwood Minor Hockey players were eager to try out the new ice.The little legs dangle over the edge of the benches. The child-sized hockey sticks rest lightly on the pristine ice surface. A dozen pairs of eyes are glued to the new time clock. In just moments they will be given the all clear to hop down onto the new rink in the Central Park Arena and glide across the ice in this brand new facility.
Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper is just as excited that the community is already making use of the arena.
"Council is pleased to see community members already using this new facility," said Mayor Cooper. "The community has been hoping for a second ice surface, and with the number of bookings we already have in place, we know it will be well utilized. We are all looking forward to cheering our local athletes at the new Central Park Arena!"
The arena unofficially opened Monday (a soft opening). This is the first time members of Collingwood Minor Hockey have been able to hold a practice at the Central Park Arena and test out the ice. It's a day, said Collingwood Minor Hockey President Mike Lougheed, he's been eagerly anticipating.
"We've been hearing talk of a second rink in Collingwood for 30 years," Lougheed said Tuesday. "Thank goodness it's finally here!"
Marta Proctor, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the Town of Collingwood has no doubt that this new arena is a welcome opportunity for the community.
"It's going to provide increased options for community sports groups," Proctor said. "As well, it's a great opportunity for new programming such as the women's hockey league we're getting up and running."
Proctor notes that the women's hockey league still has room for new members.
She also encourages the community to submit suggestions for new programming. Sledge hockey is one of the many ideas under consideration, now that the Town has doubled its available ice time.
The Skating Club will remain at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena, and with the new ice availability, are looking to grow and expand.
Anyone with a suggestion or request for programming should contact the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department (705-444-2500). Upcoming programming and a date for the Official Opening will be listed on the Town's website, and in the next edition of the Community Activity Guide.
Mike Lougheed, President of Collingwood Minor Hockey said the new arena means his players can stay local. (With players Haley Beckett (L) and Marcus Lougheed (R)
Work continues on some areas of the Central Park Arena, but the rink, change rooms, washrooms and ground floor lobby have all opened to the public.
The new facility boasts a full-size rink and six change rooms with washrooms, including separate girls "change rooms and referees" change rooms. When completed, there will be seating for around 250 spectators, and a ground-floor, heated viewing area.
A state-of-the-art refrigeration system and a high-insulation factor in the roof and walls, means the building will be very energy-efficient, which will result in a better quality ice surface.
Ample free parking - and the added bonus of not having to travel out of town to find available rink time - are also big advantages to this facility.
Monday's opening was limited to the ice surface, change rooms, washrooms and the ground floor lobby. Work on the second floor spectator area, elevator and administration offices continues. Completion is anticipated in the near future.
Easy to reach, Collingwood offers a combination of old time charm and history with the best recreation in Southern Ontario. Whether relocating to Collingwood as a full or part-time resident, or looking for a new weekend retreat, Collingwood offers all the amenities and support you require.
There are great opportunities in this area for business, tourism and industry. Business retention and expansion, and new investment attraction are key components to the economic stability of this progressive community.