Construction of a new ice arena will begin at the start of Feb. in Keene, New Hampshire. With hopes of enlarging possibilities for ice use and creating a healthier community, Keene Ice Center Enterprise, Inc. has worked with the community to produce this new ice arena.
Soon to be located adjacent to the Keene police station, the community ice arena is projected to attract popularity and participation throughout the community, according to their website keeneice.org.
Anthony Santorelli is the vice president of Keene ICE and has been working closely with other board members to create a successful arena. “We’re really looking to enhance ice sports in Keene and create programs for people to get involved,” Santorelli said. He said he has hopes that this arena will present people with the opportunity to try any ice sports they may not have had the ability to try due to high costs.
With the anticipation of having an NHL [National Hockey League] standard 85’-by-200’ sheet of ice, the cost of this project is high. The board members assured citizens of Keene that Keene ICE has been working with the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation and “has received generous donations from several local businesses,” according to their website. Santorelli guaranteed that no tax dollars would be used to maintain the building, as it will be run by the independent board of Keene ICE and not the city of Keene itself.
Keeneice.org explains that the ice arena will be financially beneficial to the City of Keene. According to the site, board members anticipate “several hundred visitors to enjoy games, ice shows, tournaments, coaching clinics and other public events.” By attracting people to the community, the site states income will be brought to local food businesses, shops, restaurants and hotels.
According to keeneice.org, more than 4,000 residents currently participate in ice sports. The site states that the new arena will “create new possibilities for ice use and recreational sports will have the opportunity to grow.”
The new arena affects not only citizens of Keene, but also Keene State College itself.
Associate Head Coach of the men’s club hockey team at KSC, Bert Poirier said he is more than excited for the community ice arena.
Poirier explained that the arena will positively enhance KSC’s hockey program by providing a rink closer to campus. “This is probably the best project that this community can take on,” he said.
Poirier explained that current hockey team members must provide their own transportation to a rink fifty minutes away from campus throughout Sept. and Oct. until Cheshire rink opens in mid Nov.
He said he feels this rink will be a much easier commute for players. With the mention of creating a Division III hockey team at KSC, Poirier said it would be a challenge.
“It would make a lot of sense from an enrollment point–of-view, but it’s a huge undertaking,” Poirier said.
Caroline Hird is a junior at KSC and the current president of the women’s club hockey team.
Hird is looking forward to the new arena as she said she believes their current rink is “old and not well known.”
“I think the new rink will attract more fans as well as players,” Hird said.
She also said she hopes the new arena will make the KSC hockey program more prominent and reasonable for interested students..
Allie Hodet is a first-year student at KSC and is a member of the women’s club hockey team as well.
“We’re really hoping to grow our program and I’m hopeful the new ice arena will help our team become larger,” Hodet said.
Construction of the arena is expected to take about six to eight months, according to Santorelli. Keene ICE has posted the opening date as Oct. 15, 2015.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com