Sudbury arena loses appeal as Wolves' den
Aging facility deters players from coming to Sudbury, local hockey team manager says
A recent power outage at the Sudbury Arena has called into question the age and condition of that facility — and the arena's main user, the Sudbury Wolves — says it's time for a change from the 61-year-old building.
The power outage threatened to cancel a Sudbury Wolves exhibition game and it's just one of the issues the team has had with the arena lately.
"The problems that I see are more behind-the-scenes issues with respect to the team and the dressing room and our ability to attract players to Sudbury," said Blaine Smith, president and general manager of the hockey team.
Smith said other Ontario Hockey League cities like Sault Ste. Marie and Kingston have built new arenas.
"I think, at some point in time, the city would need to start planning on a new facility that would service not only the Ontario Hockey League team that is here but also all the shows and concerts that come into Sudbury."
Arena has had upgrades
The manager of arenas with the city said a plan is in the works for the future of the Sudbury Arena and other facilities.
"One of the mandates from council to staff is to prepare an Arena's Renewal Strategies Report to determine how we should start planning to replace all of these arenas in the future," Ray Mensour said.
Mensour noted that report is slated to go to council later this year.
He added the arena has been upgraded several times over the decades, including new lighting retrofits for the facility which will be installed this season.
But Smith said his team has had many issues with the aging facility, including a leaky roof and drainage problems.
"Sudbury is recognized for having one of the grand old facilities in the league, which is great," Smith said.
"But … when (players) look at the other facilities and see what is available to them, compared to elsewhere in Ontario and around the league, certainly — unfortunately — Sudbury is starting to lose ground there."