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Cambridge Ice Arena set to open in coming weeks

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The Cambridge Ice Arena looks set to open before the end of September.

The finishing touches are being made to the new ice rink, which has been more than 20 years in the planning, and it’s almost ready to open.

The 56m by 26m ice pad has been installed and the keys have been handed over to operators GLL who run Jesus Green Lido and Parkside Pool as well as 250 leisure centres in partnership with more than 30 local councils.

An invitation-only grand opening event is planned for September 28, but owners GLL say they expect the public to start using the new facility before then.

Daryl Emes, GLL partnership manager for Cambridge, said: “Since the Cambridge Ice Arena was handed over to us we have wasted no time preparing the building and its systems and putting our stamp on it.

Cambridge Ice Arena - an artist's impression of the rink. (14862440)
Cambridge Ice Arena - an artist's impression of the rink. (14862440)

“The ice pad is finished and looks terrific. Our staff are excited to be welcoming thousands of new customers and we will release details of the opening soon.”

The multi-million pound rink, sited off Newmarket Road, will boast a 340-seat arena, have room for several hundred more standing spectators, and be one of the most energy efficient ice rinks in the country.

Building work on the site, which is being leased by Marshall of Cambridge to CLIC, began in November 2017 but progress was halted following the discovery of 194 small grenades dating back to the Second World War.

Specialist contractors had to be brought in to assess the entire site and ensure it was safe for construction to continue.

Artists' impression of Cambridge Ice Arena. (14862428)
Artists' impression of Cambridge Ice Arena. (14862428)

Part of the funding for the arena came as a donation from the late David Gattiker – Canadian alumnus of Cambridge University, war hero and successful chemical engineer – bequeathed £1m to the University of Cambridge with the aim of bringing a permanent ice hockey facility to the city.

Gattiker played hockey with the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club from 1929-1931, becoming captain of the team in his final year

Cambridge University’s alumni team is advertising the opening event for donors, dignitaries and university guests at the arena.

Cambridge Ice Arena - an artist's impression of the arena. (14862433)
Cambridge Ice Arena - an artist's impression of the arena. (14862433)

It says: “ After a 20-year wait, the Cambridge Ice Arena is finally open, thanks to the generous and support of David Gattiker (Christ's 1929), many Cambridge alumni and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

“A town-gown facility, it is home ice for the university ice hockey teams. With various university and community dignitary and guests, there will be ribbon cutting, speeches, a reception, and a chance to skate on the ice. Later, there will be a hockey game involving CUIHC alumni.”

A date for a public opening of the facility has yet to be announced.

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