|AIHL poised for growth in Sydney with move to Macquarie
The Hon. Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Innovation and Member for Ryde, today announced that the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) will relocate two Sydney teams - the Sydney Bears and Sydney Ice Dogs - to the recently refurbished Macquarie Ice Rink.
The Hon. Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Innovation and Member for Ryde with the Sydeny Ice Dogs and Sydney Bears. Photo: Andrew Bourne.
With a seating capacity of 2,200 and direct access to Sydney trains, bus services, shopping and restaurants, the move to Macquarie is expected to grow the game considerably in NSW.
“Macquarie Park is going to be the fourth largest CBD in Sydney by 2025 with the amount of infrastructure being poured into the area, such as the (Macquarie) University and transport lines,” said Minister Dominello.
“We have an innovative hub right here, which is a magnet for employment, new residents and a great place to locate two outstanding Sydney clubs.”
For the Sydney Bears, the move to Macquarie is a homecoming, which launched as the Macquarie Bears in 1982.
Sydney Bears captain, Michael Schlamp noted the club’s excitement: ““The boys are stoked to be coming back to Macquarie and are keen to get the season underway. There’s no doubt we’re going to make a huge push to bring that Cup home to Macquarie.”
The refurbished rink will also welcome fierce cross-town rivals, the Sydney Ice Dogs, who are moving their club from Liverpool to the new metro location.
“The facility is unreal,” said Sydney Ice Dogs captain Scott Stephenson.
“We’ve got twenty two hundred seats and we’re looking forward to packing the house. We’ll have an entertainment precinct right next to our rink and I think our new and existing supporters are going to love the experience.”
With both teams making Macquarie their home ground, the rink becomes the premier destination for elite men’s ice hockey in Sydney. A shared home ground means fans will be spoiled for choice, with a combined total of 28 home games in 2017.
The Macquarie Ice Rink has been brought up to modern ice hockey playing standards with new hockey boards, a new ice surface and a refreshed higher-capacity interior fit out.
Assistant Commissioner for the AIHL, Lisa Martens remarked, “The rink’s refurbishment, its location and direct access to transport and restaurants creates another sports entertainment district for Sydney to be proud of.
“CBD-based sports arenas showcase more than sport – they showcase the surrounding destination and contribute to the lifestyle of the community. We’re excited to bring the AIHL into the city of Sydney and share this with the world through our broadcasts”.
The AIHL’s opening game at the Macquarie Ice Rink is on 22 April when the Bears and the Ice Dogs go head to head in the first Battle of Sydney.
The 2017 Season Schedule will be released 20 January 2017.