Reporter: Dan Cearns
Every day at the Campus Ice Centre, you can hear the sound of skates cutting their way through the ice, and the slapping of sticks.
Since it opened in 2005, it has stood as a place for students and the community to come together and take advantage of it’s many uses.
“I think [the building is] very important. Oshawa has always had a shortage of ice, especially for prime time usage,” said general manager Tim Watson. “I think the community uses it actually more than the students do. When you think about every single night, when you think about weekends from 7 in the morning to almost 10 at night, the majority of it is community use.”
That’s why it was no surprise that the ice centre was voted the best arena in the Durham region in 2013.
“I think people who do come here enjoy it. I think it’s a fantastic facility. Obviously with any facility there are shortcomings, problems that you run into every day. You can’t please everyone all the time. But for the most part I think we do a great job with pleasing most of the people who come in here,” he said.
Daily activities open to anyone at the the arena include public skating, shinny hockey games, and stick and puck. Stick and Puck gives visitors a chance to go out on the ice and work on their shot or their stickhandling.
That is, if they’re wearing a helmet, gloves and they have a stick.
“I think it’s been great, too, because I have known some students who have started with us, way back, like in 2006, that have used the facility because they didn’t even have skates at the time,” said Watson.
“So they got to use our skates, they started skating and they started enjoying it, so they want to try stick and puck. They borrowed helmet, gloves and sticks and they started goofing around with that and then they started playing full shinny, they bought their own equipment. So there have been a couple success stories like that over the years.”
As well as the routine activities, the ice centre has hosted many community events, including figure skating championships, Ringette as well as many different hockey tournaments at all levels. In addition, former NHLers Keith and Wayne Primeau host a hockey camp there every year. The arena is also home to the men’s and women’s Ridgebacks hockey teams and many minor hockey teams.
It’s not just students and members of the community who have passed through the doors of the ice centre either. Hockey heroes Bob Baun, the Primeau brothers, and fan favourite Doug “Killer” Gilmour have all made an appearance at one time.
The arena also has its own resident hockey celebrity.
“We have an ex-NHL player that runs the restaurant upstairs, who leases the restaurant space. That’s Derrick Smith, who played in the NHL for seven years,” he said.