Bye Bye Dalhousie Memorial Arena


(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

In a year, there will be no ice surface at Dalhousie University.

The University announced yesterday that the Dalhousie Memorial Arena would be demolished in 2012, leaving a gaping hole on the campus.

The decision was made after a Board of Governor’s voted yesterday to approve the plan.

The arena is not just home both Varsity Hockey teams, it is home to 42 Intramural Hockey teams this Winter and countless other community groups and programs, including the Dalhousie Tigers Superskills Hockey Camps.
That’s not to mention that it is the venue that host’s the Annual Residence Charity Face-off each March, an event that has raised an average of $20,000 a year and is played in front of a packed house.

In an article by Halifax Metro, it was estimated that it would cost $3-4 million to fix the current roof and that there were not plans to currently build a new arena, but it may be looked at in the longer term.

A direct quote from Charles Crosby, the University Spokesman said that ““The plan is for it to include things like physio, a cardio area, yoga studios and the like.”

A move like this will no doubt cast doubt upon the future of both Varsity Programs at Dalhousie, with the cancellation of Saint Mary’s Women’s Hockey program last Summer still very fresh on the minds of University Hockey fans across the city.

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

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One comment

  1. Some extra context around the decision:

    Due to additional snow loads on the arena from the construction of the new multipurpose building/residence on LeMarchant the roof would either have to be replaced or reinforced at a cost of several million dollars. This would also mean that the arena would be closed for at least a year.

    The (currently unapproved) plan is to put a new athletics facility where the arena was – consisting of field support for Wickwire, yoga/dance studios, cardio, weightrooms, etc. right away.

    Dal is planning on building an arena on the site of eliza ritchie and it is expected that we wouldn’t have an arena for 4 years. During that time Dalhousie is already working out a deal with the Forum to locate our ice activities there. (Just as SMU does). Once a new arena is built it will be a far better facility than we currently have – at a cost that is similar to the roof replacement and deferred maintenance that we would have had to do with the old arena anyway.

    Our hockey programs are not done – and having been at the Board meeting I can assure you that there was lots of concern about the loss of the facility – but in the long term this will result in much better athletic facilities for Students.

    The proposed athletic facility on the site where the arena is currently located would also be able to open a year earlier than the expansion to the Dalplex that was planned on the eliza ritchie site – resulting in better athletic facilities earlier than expected.

    This was all presented to the Board yesterday but the only projects that were approved (and had sufficient detail to be approved) were the building of the LeMarchant Mixed Use Building and the demolition of the arena to allow that to take place. The University will be returning to the Board with detailed plans and costing for the subsequent phases at future meetings but these projects are very much a series of dominoes that have begun to fall.

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