New Brunswick

Public gets first glimpse of Moncton's new downtown arena

The 8,800 seat, $113-million arena opened to the public on Saturday.

'It’s world class': fans and athletes are excited for the opening of the Avenir Centre

The Avenir Centre was opened to the public for the first time on Saturday morning. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Moncton's 8,800 seat, $113-million downtown arena opened to the public on Saturday. 

"This is an amazing rink, beautiful, very nice, it's a pleasure to be in here to see all this," said Allie Kent, a Moncton Wildcats fan, who is one of hundreds who came out to take a look at the Avenir Centre. 

"Look at the scoreboard! Wow!"

The centre will host the Moncton Wildcats hockey team, which has played past seasons at the Moncton Coliseum.

Jake and Sean Stewart play for the Wildcats, and showed up to get a look at their new home arena. 

"It's world class," said Sean Stewart. 

The Wildcats will play their first home game in the new arena against the Saint John Sea Dogs on Sept. 28.

"Just looking at right now, I can't believe we're actually going to be here, playing at this rink," said Jake Stewart. 

The arena will be the new home of the Moncton Wildcats this year. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Bob Buchanan and his son-in-law plan on buying season tickets for the Wildcats now that the team will play in the downtown centre.

"It looks to be a lot more comfortable than what it was in the Coliseum. You didn't have very much leg room,"  said Buchanan. 

"But here there seems to be lots of room, and the mobility of getting around is a lot easier too."

Parking

Some fans think the new arena will make for a more comfortable viewing experience. (Philip Drost/CBC)

There have been concerns raised about the availability of parking near the new arena.

Bob Buchanan expects it will be an issue, but not for him since he doesn't drive. 

"My kids are pretty good at dropping me off," said Buchanan.

Phil Murray, who also wanted a first hand look at the new centre expects he'll have to get "creative" when he comes to watch the hockey games

"We haven't had to actually come and park for an event yet so we'll see how that goes," said Murray.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.