ICE ARENA WALES OPENS | SPORTS FEATURE
Ice Arena Wales finally opens its doors to the public, playing host to a record breaking attendance for the Cardiff Devils.
In 2006 Wales National Ice Rink closed its doors to make way for the development of the St. David’s shopping centre in the heart of Cardiff. The rink had been home to the Cardiff Devils for two decades; so temporary premises were built on a site in Cardiff Bay, intended to house the Devils for three to four years until a permanent venue could be built. The resulting Big Blue Tent became a much-loved venue for fans that filled the gap left by Wales National Ice Rink for close to ten years.
In March, the wait was over as Ice Arena Wales finally opened its doors for the first time, welcoming a record-breaking attendance for the Devils with a crowd of 3,087. Opening night saw the Devils beat the Belfast Giants 5-2, a fantastic result to settle fans into their new stadium.
Unfortunately, the Sheffield Steelers beat the Devils to the Elite League title in their last game of the season. The Devils held the number one spot in the league for a heart breaking 15 minutes after their victory over Nottingham Panthers, before Sheffield Steelers regained their two-point lead to claim the trophy.
The future looks bright for Cardiff Devils though. Ice Arena Wales is a £16 million state of the art facility, with one 60 by 30 metre Olympic sized rink the Devils will be using, and another smaller rink for curling, sledge ice hockey and public skating. Support for the team looks set to increase further with the opening of Ice Arena Wales, a timely accompaniment to the Devils recent performance success.
The venue could also play host to a range of other events including boxing and music gigs, and the capacity of the venue could be increased by up to 400 or 500 to accommodate this.
Ice Arena Wales. Info: www.icearenawales.co.uk