There was just that little extra spring in the step of the hockey players taking the ice at Panorama Recreation Centre one recent afternoon.
It might have been attributable to the fact that they were the first players on the ice in Arena B, following its $2.2 million renovation this past spring and summer. The project, which stated in early April, included an entirely new concrete rink surface, over which was poured a new sheet of ice. And surrounding that ice are new boards, taller glass, more room at the players’ benches and penalty boxes were they’re supposed to be — across the ice on either side of the scorer’s booth.
The rink is now larger, brighter and updated with a new sound system. Still, there were some last-minute additions going on, as the players skated onto the ice on Friday afternoon, October 6.
The Retreads oldtimers hockey club ended up having the honour of being the first ones to use the ice recreationally. There had been other people on the ice — ice makers, maintenance staff and, of course, the operators of the ice resurfacing machine. And while some of the players didn’t realize they were the first, those who were asked about it said the rink was nice, bright and even brand-new.
The rink went into service again on Oct. 6, welcoming the home opener for the Peninsula Panthers Junior B hockey team that night — which saw the local team defeat the Westshore Wolves, 2-1.
An official grand opening for the new Arena B is set for Sunday, October 15 from 11 a.m, to 3 p.m. It’ll be in tailgate party form, with kids’ games, free skating and road hockey and more. The Red Barn Market will have food for sale on site. The opening ceremony takes place between 12:30 and 1 p.m.