Following reports by the IIHA in recent months of a brand new ice and inline hockey facility to be opened in Santry, Dublin, we would like to provide everyone with an update on the project.
Since the closure of the Dundalk Ice Dome the availability of ice hockey in Ireland has been limited to facilities in Northern Ireland, Seasonal Ice Rinks throughout Ireland and the ice skating facility at Castleknock, Dublin. Concurrently, there has been substantial work done with various teams participating in Inline hockey in locations such as Dublin, Drogheda, Dundalk, Kilkenny and Cork to name a few.
The IIHA conducted open Pick-Up Ice Hockey sessions regularly in both the Odyssey Arena and Dundonald Ice Rink in Belfast where the support provided to the IIHA by the management and staff of those facilities has been outstanding and greatly appreciated.
Recently a permanent ice rink has been under construction in the National Ice Sports Arena, Santry, Dublin. It will provide the Capital City, Dublin, and Ireland as a whole with an ice surface large enough to cater for ice hockey leagues.
The IIHA’s Director of Player Operations, Will Fitzgerald, visited the National Ice Sports Arena to see how things are progressing as it reaches its final preparations. Prior to his visit some individuals were invited to view the facility for the first time, including representatives from the Dublin Ducks and Celtic Clovers who currently train and conduct Learn to Play sessions at Castleknock on Ice in Dublin.
On entering the facility the first thing that hits you about the rink is that its cold, but in a nice way, Hockey Cold. The rink is being finalised by a number of engineers who have been flown in to complete the work and a number of dedicated individuals who have been working tirelessly for a number of months now. These individuals are not in it for the money, more for the love of the sport and hunger for ice and are putting in many hours of hard labour in order to bring the rink to the point where it opens and ice hockey and figure skating can commence.
The IIHA and the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have been consulting with the operators of the facility, for a number of weeks about the scheduling of ice times and programmes to be conducted there. The National Governing Bodies (IIHA and ISAI) are collaborating closely in order to ensure that each of the sports get the best possible use of the ice to both bodies satisfaction.
A number of weeks ago team representatives were invited to the rink and the IIHA is delighted to add another couple of clubs to that list which is related to notifying the Irish ice hockey community about all matters related to the sport, so welcome Ducks and Clovers.
So how long before the rink opens? Well, considering that final checks and tests are being conducted on the plant, connections and a lot more bits and technical pieces than the author is aware of, it is close, very close to opening to ice hockey and figure skating. Management have informed the IIHA that they hope to flood the rink in the coming days.
Will Fitzgerald said ‘So much progress has been done in these last few months and that is testament to the financial commitment, hard work, long days and nights of those who are involved in the development of the National Ice Sports Arena’.
So, keep a close eye on IIHA.org, IIHA Facebook & Twitter pages / national media for more information about the imminent opening of what will truly be a fantastic ice arena.