The Oldest Operating Arena in the World Could Be Calumet Colosseum on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Thanks to friends like Adam Wodon of College Hockey News, we are gathering historical information about arenas in North America.

One of the documents that Adam found and shared with us is Ice Rinks in the Copper Country which is a history of ice rinks in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This document talks about a few arenas that existed prior to 1900, but the oldest arena that still exists in that area is thought to be the oldest operating indoor ice arena in the world.

The Calumet Colosseum in Calumet, Michigan was built 1913 and is still in use today.  It was featured in the article 100 Years Young: Calumet Colosseum in USA Hockey Magazine four years ago.

In spite of the fact that the Colosseum has been used for hockey since 1913, it only installed an artificial ice plant in 1968.  Their ability to play hockey indoors prior to 1968 appears to be due to the cold conditions in Calumet during the winter.

The USA Hockey Magazine article talks about the ice plant being built with volunteer labor during a strike at the Calumet and Hecla (C&H) Mining Company resulted in the striking workers volunteering to build the ice plant.

As a result of the articles that Adam has sent us recently, we have a good amount of historical information about arenas that can be incorporated into RinkAtlas.  We’re also beginning a trial project to document the closed arenas in New Jersey with an eye toward writing a history of arenas in the Atlantic District of USA Hockey in the future.

Air Canada Centre to be Renamed Scotiabank Arena in July 2018

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Scotiabank announced a record-breaking 20-year naming rights deal for the arena on Bay Street in Toronto currently known as Air Canada Centre.

According to the Globe & Mail, the arena’s name will become Scotiabank Arena in July 2018. The cost of this agreement to Scotiabank is reportedly $800 million.

This announcement is uncharted territory for RinkAtlas. Over the past year, we’ve begun tracking previous names of arenas in our directory, but we’ve never know the future name of an existing arena so far in advance.

Should we start tracking future names for arenas?

Ontario Arena Directory Completed!

We completed the Ontario arena directory today. Over 900 arenas and park rinks were added to the RinkAtlas database.

We completed our arena directory for Ontario today!

RinkAtlas.com now covers over 900 arenas and park rinks in Ontario, from Kenora in the west to Hawkesbury in the east. We also have over 1,000 arenas and park rinks listed in Quebec & the Maritimes.

Next we’re building a complete directory of arenas in Manitoba.

Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney, TX Reportedly Planning Big Expansion

Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept
Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept Drawing, from the presentation to the McKinney TX City Council

Yesterday, Cassidy Ritter in Dallas-Fort Worth Community Impact reported that Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney will add an additional 1,800 seat NHL-sized sheet, with more parking and locker rooms.

What makes this article especially interesting is the details of what was said in the presentation to the McKinney City Council, the repurposing of space devoted to ball fields for indoor ice, and the grants coming from McKinney Community Development Corporation and the City of McKinney.

This shows that hockey and skating are growing in the State of Texas, and how committed growing communities in Texas are to continuing the expansion of recreation facilities. [ Thanks to Scott Wheeler for sharing the link where we could see it. ]

Is Louisville Laying the Foundation for an NHL Future?

The Louisville Kentucky city council and the chairman of their arena authority are discussing adapting the KFC Yum! Center for NHL hockey.

The KFC Yum Center is an arena now primarily used for Louisville Cardinals basketball games. It was originally built without an ice plant because the basketball floor might get slippery, and– why would a lot of people want to go see hockey “that far in the South”?

But then, the runaway success of the Nashville Predators two hours to their south happened.

This is a long shot, but Nashville – Louisville could become a Western Conference rivalry, because the distance between the two cities is easily drivable. [photo of KFC Yum! Center from the KFC Yum! Center website]

RinkAtlas Search Improved for Arenas in French-Speaking Areas of Canada

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added information to the directory entries for arenas in the French-speaking areas of Canada to allow RinkAtlas users to search according to the city and arena names as they are typically spelled in either French or English.

This means that arenas like “Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur” in Saint-Rédempteur, Québec can be searched for by typing any of the following:

  • Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres Saint Redempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres St. Redempteur

We also created alternative city names, so that arenas in Montréal, for example, can be found by searching:

  • Montréal, QC
  • Montreal, QC

Arenas in Quebec City, which is referred to simply as “Québec” in French, can be found by searching:

  • Québec, QC
  • Quebec, QC
  • Quebec City, QC

We hope that this solves a number of issues with arena and city searches that relate to the bilingual nature of RinkAtlas’ arena directory.  We hope to eventually fully localize the RinkAtlas application to support French as well as English.

Thank you for your support of RinkAtlas!

Total Fan Experience at Pro Hockey Arenas Impacts Attendance

As those of us who grew up in the New York Metropolitan area are painfully aware, the Ottawa Senators eliminated the New York Rangers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.  You’d think that, with their on-ice success, the Senators franchise would be turning fans away from their games, right?

That’s not exactly the case according to Melanie Pitman writing for TheHockeyWriters:

Their average game this past year tallied 16,744 attendees, compared to the 20,500 total people that can fit in the Canadian Tire Centre. And when the Sens played their first Round Two game in four years, only 16,744 seats were full – which was the first time in nearly 10 years that the team didn’t manage to sell out for a playoff game.

Baffling Attendance at Senators Games, Still There’s Hope

The number one issue that Ms. Pitman cites is the location of the Canadian Tire Centre.  This arena in a suburb of Ottawa called Kanata.  It’s not particularly easy to get to in a car from the center of Ottawa, where many people in Canadian government and related businesses work.  Although it’s surrounded by acres of parking lots, exit from those lots after the game is reportedly difficult despite efforts to improve it.

And, just like the other professional hockey arenas that we’ve identified that are similarly situated– places like Wells Fargo Center, PNC Arena, BB&T Center, and Scotiabank Saddledome in the NHL, and the Giant Center in Hershey, PA in the AHL, arenas that are surrounded by acres of parking lots don’t generally have the amenities outside the rink in the form of walkable bars and restaurants that make going to the game fun for people who are not yet the hugest hockey fans.

At RinkAtlas, we believe that the experience of going to a professional hockey game includes how much fun it is to travel to the game, what you do when you get to the arena before you enter the building, and how easy it is to get back home or to wherever you are staying.

We believe that there have to be ways to compare the total game experience at different arenas and say that, typically, you’ll have a better time at a Predators game at Bridgestone Arena than you will at a Senators game at Canadian Tire Centre, simply because of how much fun Lower Broadway in Nashville is compared to Palladium Drive in Kanata.

We’re working on ways to measure this sort of fan experience and we hope to soon have some metrics that help identify the truly fun places to experience a game.

RinkAtlas Directory Complete for New Brunswick

We completed the arena directory for New Brunswick today.  There are 95 arenas in New Brunswick and 2 closed arenas that some websites still show as if they are open.

RinkAtlas now has all of the indoor arenas in the Maritimes in its database.  This includes every arena in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

We’re now moving on to work on the directory for the Québec.

Why Did RinkAtlas Display Some Arena Names Twice with Minor Spelling or Wording Differences?

Some RinkAtlas users may notice that we list some arenas by multiple versions of their names.  In some situations, there was sometimes little difference between the versions of the arenas’ names.

An example is Réal-Boudreau Centre in Beresford, New Brunswick.  We now list this arena as:

Réal-Boudreau Centre

The reason we did this was because the database underlying RinkAtlas is aware of all international characters and it considers “é” to be a different letter than “e”.  At one point in the development of our directory, we listed the arena’s name both ways, so English speakers would be able to find the arena without first figuring out how to type “é”.

We solved this problem by creating additional metadata that you cannot see which shows any possible alternate spellings for the name of the arena.  We’ve gone back through the database and made the displayed name for the arena the name of the arena in the primary language of the area.

We hope that this clarifies the way we are managing arena names currently within RinkAtlas.