AFTER an extended wait Cardiff Devils will play their first match in their new arena in the Bay tomorrow (March 12).
The final preparations for Ice Arena Wales’ opening were taking place as the Devils trained ahead of their match against Belfast Giants.
The £16 million Olympic-standard ice rink was intended to be in use last year, but problems with funding and permission for phone line connections led to extensive delays.
The arena is part of a £400 million investment in the city’s International Sports Village. Devils, an Elite League team, relocated 10 years ago from the Wales National Ice Rink in Cardiff city centre to a temporary venue in the Bay, the Big Blue Tent.
The new Ice Arena Wales has two ice pads, a bar, and a food counter. The main rink will hold 3,008 spectators in comparison with the Big Blue Tent’s capacity of about 2,300.
Last month fans were left disappointed when the Devils’ planned debut game at Ice Arena Wales on February 27 was rearranged back at the tent only the week before it took place.
The campaign group, Save Our Rink Association Committee, has long expressed concern over the delays. The arena’s developer Greenbank Partnerships Ltd signed the build contract for the arena in 2014 and estimated the building would be completed in 2015.
Last March Greenbank operations director Chris Hartrey, who formerly managed the Wales National Ice Rink and Cardiff Ice Arena, said: “The worst case scenario is that the new building will be up and running during the first week in January. “I am really confident about that and more than hopeful we can improve on that timing.”
Today Cardiff Devils Commercial Director Kris Agland said: “It’s really exciting to be moving into the arena, which has been long overdue for fans and the city. “It’s an exciting time as we’re still in contention for the league.
“The response to tickets sales for tomorrow’s game has been great – they’re as good as sell-out already.”
- Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants will be at 7pm on Saturday March 12.