New Arena Sporting Pretty Cool Technology
The new Pat Burns Arena will be holding its’ official opening ceremonies on the weekend of September 23rd to 25th. Despite this, the arena unofficially opened its’ doors to the public earlier this summer, as the main structure and ice were completed some time ago. The grand opening is scheduled to take place only upon completion of those construction projects currently outstanding, none of which involve the actual rink itself. The ice was utilized this summer by local hockey camps and hockey clubs renting ice time. Stanstead College ran a Girl’s Hockey Camp for teens this summer, while Arena Director, Marc Parent, in collaboration with his father, ran a hockey camp for younger kids starting at age 6.
When the Arena price tag was originally discussed, prior to construction, we all know there was a great deal of dissension. Many people feared taxes would be raised, there would be cost overruns, or the Arena would fail to help the town economically. That being said, it is hard to walk through the front doors of the new Pat Burns Arena and not be immediately impressed. Human nature being what it is, those looking to rent ice time will naturally want to do so in a new, state-of-the-art arena rather than an ‘old barn’, as Stanstead once owned. And our new arena certainly fits the bill when it comes to modern accommodations.
The new arena will contain a restaurant, a gym, a physiotherapy room, a community room available for private events, and a VIP room for guest spectators at hockey tournaments. The locker rooms and showers are every hockey player’s dream, certainly a couple of steps up from the old arena facilities. When you enter the bathrooms and locker rooms, the lights go on automatically, and they shut off with your departure. Showers are built between locker rooms so, while the teams can share the shower facilities, locker rooms are locked to prevent non-team members from accessing each other’s locker rooms. Stanstead College holds three of the locker
rooms for their use during the school year, while 6 others are used for visitors and local teams renting the ice.
When the price tag for this arena was discussed, there were many questioning how an Arena could cost so many millions of dollars. However, when one looks behind the scenes in order to investigate the mechanisms in place to keep the arena an arena, as oppose to a public pool, one sees where a good deal of money may have gone. The compressor responsible for maintaining the temperature of both the arena and the ice is a magnificently ‘cool’ piece of technology. The fact it is as large as some homes I have visited, may account for its’ cost. It is a mechanical monster housed in its’ own two storey room, with little space remaining. It utilizes the outside temperature to help cool and heat water, as it is pumped to the roof and back for use by the compressor. The system is a ‘closed system’ that reutilizes its’ water, recycling it so replenishment is not required. The technology is quite impressive, as is the machine itself. It has holding tanks of ‘ice’ that are replenished during the night when the master temperature is raised to a warmer temperature to allow the compressors to rest and the ice tanks to refill themselves. The alarm panel is designed to alert maintenance staff if there is a problem, with numbered alarm lights to help identify specific problems more quickly.
Despite the official opening for the Pat Burns Arena being scheduled for late September, I recom- mend those who question whether the Pat Burns Arena was a good idea schedule a few moments to tour our new facility. One cannot help but feel a sense of community pride when a town the size of Stanstead succeeds in accomplishing a goal of this magnitude. The arena is magnificent. Mr. Parent, responsible for renting the ice time, has stated patrons that left in the past to rent at Jay Peak have already come back to Stanstead this year. The arena will sell itself when hockey enthusiasts walk through the front door and enter locker rooms capable of welcoming them by turning on the lights when their movement is detected. The community room is available for private rental and the other facilities will also generate income. The arena did not have any cost overruns and was completed on schedule, which some may consider remarkable. My overall impres-
Rink from spectator gallery above sion was very positive and optimistic. There is no doubt this arena can attract the business it was intended to and generate pride on the part of the town who dreamt large enough to make it happen. more pictures p. 19