Cambridge Ice Arena: First look inside the new ice rink
The Cambridge Ice Arena is set to open to the public on bank holiday Monday - but you can see behind closed doors now as the Cambridge Independent has been given a glimpse inside the new facility.
The first skaters will step onto the ice on August 26, bringing to an end the 25 year wait for an exhibition-class ice rink in Cambridge.
Tickets for the opening day have already been snapped up, but more are available for August 27 and can be bought at better.org.uk.
The £5.5m facility on Newmarket Road will not only provide a regular recreational skating programme to the public but also be the home to the Cambridge University Ice Hockey team which during the 20-game season will be able to play at home for the first time.
The arena will be operated by leisure and cultural social enterprise GLL, under its ‘Better’ brand on a 26-year lease.
GLL Partnership manager Daryl Emes said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the public at our open day on bank holiday Monday, August 26. Customers and staff have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of this date.
“And the wait is definitely worth it. With a competition class ice rink, a community skating programme and first-class spectator facilities, it’s going to soon become a destination attraction for ice hockey players and fans, skaters and families across the region.”
Work on the ice rink began back in November 2017 but was temporarily halted by the discovery of 194 grenades dating from World War Two.
With a 56m x 26m ice pad, seats for 300 spectators and a fully accessible building, the new facility meets International Ice Hockey Federation requirements and can host international teams.
The project was inspired by chemistry undergraduate David Gattiker of Christ’s College (1929-1931) who was captain of the university ice hockey team. His £1m bequest on his death in 1993, donations from other alumni and £2.4m loan funding from South Cambridgeshire District Council, enabled the project to get off the drawing board following the gift of the land from the Marshall family.
Cambridge Leisure and Ice Arena (CLIC) has been the driving force over the last 25 years to make the ice rink a reality.
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for finance, Cllr John Williams, said: “It’s fantastic that this new facility is almost open and available for people of all ages from across South Cambridgeshire to take advantage of.
“We hope the rink will be a fantastic facility our residents can enjoy for many years. We’re pleased to have invested in this community-focussed building and hope it benefits the health and wellbeing of residents well into the future.”
Cambridge University’s director of sport Nick Brooking said: “The university is delighted to have been able to help turn the initial legacy from David Gattiker into what will be a vibrant sporting facility for the whole community.
“The opening should recognise and celebrate the extraordinary commitment of Prof Bill Harris and the numerous other people who have worked so hard over a number of years to bring this project to fruititon.”