With the start of the regular season approaching, three PHF teams have announced new home rinks. The Connecticut Whale will be moving to the International Skating Centre of Connecticut, the Whitecaps will be making Richfield Ice Arena their new home, and the Metropolitan Riveters will be playing their home games on the ice at the American Dream shopping centre in New Jersey.
Richfield Ice Arena
The Whitecaps are set to play at Richfield Ice Arena from 2022-23 through to April of 2038.
Central to the Whitecaps’ decision to move was the ability to secure amenities such as a permanent locker room and a training facility for players.
“Facilities are critical to the growth of the PHF, and the Whitecaps and their players will surely benefit from the enhanced professional experience that comes from development opportunities and competition at a single venue they can call home,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner. “We look forward to a new era for the Whitecaps as they expand their passionate fan base at Richfield Ice Arena.”
The Whitecaps will be the arena’s primary tenant and will have sole advertising rights to the facility’s main rink, as well as the second rink which is used mainly for practice. Additionally, the new agreement will see the Whitecaps sharing a portion of concession revenues with the city. The main rink, where the Whitecaps are expected to play their home games has sitting room for 1300 spectators with standing room for another 500.
“We are excited to add the Whitecaps organization to our facility,” said Kris Weiby, Facility Manager for the City of Richfield. “This will help us grow girl’s hockey in Richfield and continue the rich hockey history in the city. This is a perfect fit for our organization, and I can’t wait for the first puck drop in November.”
International Skating Center of Connecticut
After two seasons in Danbury, the Connecticut Whale will be moving to the Greater Hartford area.
“The Whale are thrilled to be putting down roots at ISCC in Simsbury and bringing Brass Bonanza back to the Greater Hartford area,” said Whale owner, Tobin Kelly.
ISCC offers two ice surfaces as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre, dance and group exercise studio as well as a full-service restaurant that offers rink-side dining.
“We are so excited to bring the highest level of sports back to Simsbury and our surrounding communities,” said Kelle Becconsall, ISCC Owner and General Manager.
The ISCC has a history of hosting elite athletes, first opening as a facility for competitive figure skaters.
“It’s been our mission to revitalize that hometown pride and bring ISCC back to the international spotlight. Now we get to host women’s professional hockey, and it doesn’t get much better than that. We’re beyond honoured to have the Connecticut Whale call us their home rink and can’t wait to welcome them to ISCC,” said Becconsall.
While ISCC will be their home for the majority of the season, the Whale will play their first two games at their practice facility, Milford Ice Arena.
The Metropolitan Riveters certainly made the most unconventional home rink announcement of the offseason.
The Rivs’ have entered into a three season agreement to play all home games at the American Dream retail and entertainment complex in Rutherford, New Jersey.
The ice surface is surrounded by retail and dining establishments that Riveters’ leadership hopes to leverage to create a new kind of fan experience. The Riveters have held practices at American Dream before, and the rink has regularly hosted youth hockey tournaments and New Jersey Devils Learn to Play sessions.
“After practicing at American Dream, it felt like the perfect time to take that partnership to the next level,” said Riveters captain, Madison Packer. “American Dream is committed to growing the game and supporting female athletes, and I am beyond excited to call the complex home for many years to come. This partnership continues to elevate the player experience and provides resources necessary to recover and compete at the highest level. It will truly redefine the in-game experience for sporting events and expand our reach to fans across the Tri-State area.”
The Riveters will have access to their own designated facilities including locker room, storage room, coaches office and a gym close by.
It certainly a unique venue to host a professional hockey team, but only time will tell if this move turns out to be innovative for the better, or so out-there that it’s a disaster.