Activities

Group pushes for rink in the middle of the Oval

Hockey on the Halifax Oval says there's ample room in the space for a rink and other activities

The group may be called Hockey on the Halifax Oval, but Ryan O’Quinn says his plan would benefit other sports too.

O’Quinn, founder of the group, wants to put an NHL-sized rink in the centre of the Emera Oval. He gave an update on the project at a public meeting Sunday.

“This space will be accessible to other underserved sporting communities such as roller derby, ball hockey (and) lacrosse during the spring, summer and fall,” said O’Quinn. “To me that is actually the most important point of the project; this project isn’t just all about hockey.”

Ryan O’Quinn speaks at a public meeting at Northwood Terrace on Sunday.   Julia Mountenay

O’Quinn, along with volunteer Tyler Reynolds, discussed their ideas for how a rink could look and work.

The group wants the space to appeal to everyone, regardless of skill, age or ability. For example, the rink would be accessible to wheelchairs by placing rubber mats across the snow.

“This pond is only going to be frozen four months of the year. What I’m proposing today is something that works 12 months a year,” said O’Quinn. “It uses unutilized space and helps support our communities.”

The group estimates the project would cost $2 million, but notes that the Oval already has skates, helmets, Zambonis and a cooling system. The space is large enough to support two rinks, according to the group.

The rink would be inside the Oval, leaving ample room for other activities.   Courtesy Tyler Reynolds

Rob Johnson supports the plan. He attended the University of Calgary, which is home to the Olympic Oval arena. That Oval is the same design the group wants for Halifax, though it’s indoors.

“The rinks in the Olympic Oval got tremendous use and value. That’s where I played intramural hockey for four years of my undergraduate degree,” said Johnson. “The chance to wear the equipment again and play competitive hockey in a great facility, it meant a lot.”

The Halifax Common is already a hub for a wide variety of activities, including baseball and Ultimate Frisbee.

O’Quinn and the group’s supporters hope to see their plans included in the Halifax Common master plan, which is due to be finalized in August.

“Timing is everything,” said O’Quinn, who plans on presenting the group’s work to council this summer.