The University of Waterloo community ice arena, Columbia Icefield, is set for modernization thanks to a cash injection of almost $600,000 from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.

Columbia Icefield Arena

Columbia Icefield Arena

Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener and Waterloo, announced new funding to improve the ice rink’s systems and spectator facilities at an event at the arena today. The University is also providing funds for the $1.7 million enhancement to the arena’s infrastructure. 

The enhancement of the Columbia Icefield Arena modernizes this year-round facility which is used by Waterloo’s Warrior Athletics teams, the campus community and community minor hockey organizations.

“The University of Waterloo and Warrior Athletics play a really important role in the life of this community. Improving Columbia Icefield Arena means we can continue to offer our students a safe and vibrant student experience while also increasing participation in hockey for our local community,” said Roly Webster, director of athletics and recreation at Waterloo.

Columbia Icefield Arena is available for rental by the public and also hosts free public skating year-round over the lunch hour. In 2014-15, more than 11,000 members of the public used the facility through rented ice times or participation in hockey development camps. The arena hosts ten weeks of youth camps and clinics during March break and summer and other hockey activities reaching more than 7,000 participants in 2014.

“The Columbia Icefield Arena at the University of Waterloo is an integral part of our community’s sports and recreation infrastructure, and demonstrates the strong partnership between the university and local residents,” said Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities. “I am proud that the Government of Canada is supporting improvements to this facility, and creating a lasting legacy in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial.”

The Waterloo Warriors partner with the Waterloo Ravens Girls Hockey Association to aid in the development of skills for both players and coaches, using the facilities at Columbia Icefield Arena. The Waterloo Ravens Development Program for Female Hockey Excellence is a four-year agreement that focuses on providing a scalable female hockey development and training program for all age levels in House League and Representative leagues within the WGMHA.

“Columbia Icelfied Arena is so much more than just a home for the Warriors and a resource for University students,” said Webster. “I’m very proud of our deep links with the minor hockey community as we seek to develop youth hockey and their coaches, while providing our student-athletes with unique and enriching experiences. The arena is also a living-lab used across our facilities and programs for research by academics and corporate partners.”

Columbia Icefield Arena is also home to groundbreaking hockey analytics research through a partnership with HockeyTech and their in-arena system which allows for location tracking data of all players, on-ice officials, and the puck in real time.

The CIF Arena was built in 1983 and a number of the major systems are original to the building. The renovation project, set to begin in April 2016, will enhance systems including the arena’s roofing, heating, dehumidifier, boards, bleachers, electrical, spectator facilities, as well as the ice rink chiller and cooler.

The Government of Canada launched the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program in May 2015. The national Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is being delivered by regional development agencies across the country and provides $150 million over two years to support the rehabilitation, renovation and expansion of existing community infrastructure. It is part of the federal government’s activities to honour Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

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