Great Park ICE, Five Points Arena opening this November
“If you build it, they will come!”
With hockey in Southern California bursting at the seams, the sport faces one problem hindering its growth – there is not enough ice to keep up with the demand.
“What’s limiting the participation in all of our (hockey) programs that we have is availability of ice time,” said Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli. “All of our leagues are jammed from morning to night. We can’t grow any of these programs any further without additional ice capacity.”
To address the problem, last year the Anaheim Ducks announced the plans to introduce a four-sheet ice facility at the Great Park in Irvine. Samueli and his wife, Susan Samueli, joined on stage by Ducks CEO Michael Schulman and Irvine mayor Donald P. Wagner, helped kick off construction of the 280,000 square-foot complex, dropped the first ceremonial puck for the Great Park ICE and Five Points Arena at the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony.
The sports complex will be the official practice facility of the Ducks and is set to be the largest of its kind in California – and one of the largest in the country.
While the day helped to stir up the buzz and excitement for the future of Southern California hockey, it was only a start.
“Today’s good,” Wagner told the crowd back in Feb. 2017. “Today’s the ice-breaking, today’s the groundbreaking, but really make sure you come back when we cut the ribbon on this absolutely fantastic facility in 2018.”
Fast forward to today, and that ribbon-cutting ceremony is closer than ever. Scheduled to open later this year, the area looks much different today than it did just a year ago. Up is the building’s framework and roof making it visible from the always-busy I-5 freeway. Inside, the facility has begun to take shape, with each of the rinks outfitted for grandstands and locker rooms. Completion is expected within a matter of months and the projected opening is this coming November.
“It is really hard not to get excited when you see the progress that’s been made,” said THE RINKS director of marketing Jesse Chatfield. “On the day the complex broke ground, we couldn’t wait to start playing. I think we all wanted to see the building up the very next day, so it has been great to see each step of the process get completed. Looking at it now, you realize how close we are to introducing four new sheets to an area that desperately needed it.
“Sometimes, that November date still seems far away, but each time we make a visit to the site, the reality is that November is much closer than it seems.”
The $100 million complex will offer a variety of ice sports, including youth and adult hockey, figure skating, broomball, curling, sled hockey and public skating.
Meanwhile, the Five Points Arena will have a seating capacity of 2,500 spectators, making it an ideal location for big games, competitions, and tournaments including the 2019 USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championship next April.
— THE RINKS Staff
(June 6, 2018)