Local Arenas In State Of Dilapidation & If KED Is Stopped This Needs To Be Addressed

The KED saga has taken over lungfuls of oxygen over the past few years and, all the while, the smaller arenas in Sudbury have fallen into a state of dilapidation. Really, they’ve actually been in this state for quite some time but nobody has brought much attention to this issue.

Sudbury itself has 5 icepads, two of which are located in the same building. The other three are located in Copper Cliff, Minnow Lake and the Donovan. 

Out of the three remaining arenas, only one would even remotely meet the post-Covid requirements that might be needed. The arena in Copper Cliff would seem to meets most of the need, surprisingly enough for an aging arena. 

The problems with the remaining areas are multiple, including size of dressing rooms, number of dressing rooms, size of spectator areas and canteen options. 

The most pressing of the issues for these arenas is the size of the change rooms. You really don’t need a consultant report to come to this conclusion either, you just have to go look at them. 

These rooms don’t really meet the needs of any of the age groups that use them. When you have young kids in the rooms, that generally means you have at least one parent per kid gathered in these tiny areas. As the age groups increase you have extremely small showers and toilet areas, which in the most part showcase an extreme lack of maintenance and practicality to them. They also don’t address the need for women’s change rooms. This is certainly going to become a huge issue in the near future as the women’s game grows.

In other words they are very outdated with the needs of the user in all demographics. 

Another problem with these arenas would be the lack of amenities. In all reality they don’t all need extensive upgrades to the canteen and spectator areas, but something more modern and spacious could make financial sense given the opportunities that could be presented with an expanded lobby and canteen. 

However, this is where it gets interesting. The twin icepad in the South End is a prime example of how the city doesn’t manage their assets very well. 

Although the Countryside Arena has 2 icepads and ample size dressing rooms; the arena itself is lacking amenities that are found in other arenas in other cities that are similar. These amenities include restaurants and updated technology that gives its users a far better experience. 

The arena has an enormous amount of unused space that is slated to be a Sports Hall of Fame. This area has been designated for a number of years now, but hasn’t had any progress done to it and is a giant waste at the moment and if the KED goes ahead, it will be moving to that location. In all reality the idea is noble, but does nothing for the user or users. 

What is needed in this area would be a restaurant or a pub which can be easily contracted out to a local resident to provide the users with an experience that is deserved. 

The arena hosts many tournaments and by all means is the showcase arena for not just Sudbury but the Greater City of Sudbury. 

If you look east and south of Sudbury and how they manage their multi-icepad complexes you will notice the difference immediately. Most if not all have sports stores equipped with skate sharpening and merchandising areas and in addition to that their restaurants are all equipped with TV’s that stream the activities on the ice. 

They do this because they know when parents are there watching a game, some will have breakfast or a beverage while the players get ready. This includes tournaments where families congregate before and after games especially when the delays could be longer. 

Another reason they put restaurants is for the beer leagues. They do this because they recognize that keeping people there after they play or bringing them in before they play is profitable. Those users go for beverages and food and to socialize. 

In all reality, all of these upgrades can be achieved to enhance the user experience without building the KED or renovating the arena downtown. 

Should the KED not happen the city will be faced with a very real and uncomfortable discussion about the OHL franchise. These discussions could ultimately lead to the team relocating and should that happen the downtown arena doesn’t need any renovations and could be knocked down or repurposed to something much much smaller and that meets the needs of the arts community. 

In any event, the downtown arena has served its purpose and outlived its expectancy. Renovating the old barn is a waste of money that could be spent improving amenities for the people who go to work and keep the lights on at city hall.