Monday 20 January 2014

New Blackpool Rink Looking Good

In what we feel may well be a world exclusive, we are pleased to report that the building work on the new ice rink on the site of the old TVR factory site in Blackpool appears to be approaching completion and we have been told it is looking “very good” indeed.

Now, I haven’t seen it myself and I make no claim to any amount of cutting edge investigative  journalism on my part here - all this comes by way of a chance meeting and brief conversation in our local Booths Supermarket with local hockey legend Bobby Hall that I thought I might share with you.  

“What?” I hear you cry incredulously, “Bobby Hull was in your supermarket..?” To which I reply: no, it wasn’t Bobby Hull – NHL legend of Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets fame – although now that you’ve mentioned him, we might as well leave him in as it will help with the Google search optimisation....

No, this is Bobby HALL - Blackpool Seagulls legend who won the ELN title in both 1980/81 and 1981/2 and also took part in the first-ever British Championship play off weekend at Streatham in 1982. Bob was one of the key movers in getting the new Blackpool Seagulls recreational team off the ground when the SubZero rink opened on Cleveleys promenade in 2011. He was telling me that he had been to check out the new rink building and that it was looking “really good” - and, with a guy of Bob’s experience of ice rinks, if he says it is looking good then I will happily take his word for it.

He said: “The ice pad is looking fantastic – among the best I have ever seen. It has plexi-glass all round, proper penalty boxes... The changing room area is looking good too.”

I asked about the spectators’ facilities as the original outline proposals sounded less than promising.

Bob said:  The spectators balcony has a really good view of the ice.  It’s not like in some places where if you are not seated in the front row, then you can’t see the ice properly. I think they have actually put a lot more resources into doing this than they have been letting on. Looking around, by the time everything is in place, there could be a capacity around the rink for up to 500 people.”

So far so good, then – although we haven’t actually had any official statements yet from the rink owners as to when the venue might be open to the public.

But the good news for ice hockey fans is that there are definitely plans for a new NIHL team to play at the new rink. Nothing has been announced yet about names or personnel but, if the rink building is as far advanced as it sounds - and knowing how keen hockey nuts always are to get a game on - my own guess would be that we will have a new NIHL North 2 team in place for the 2014/15 season.

Photo: Bobby Hall in action for the Blackpool Seagulls recreational team by Peter Heyworth (Sports Events Live)