Do we really need more hockey rinks?
I’ve been following the story of the all-glass, four-level hockey rink being built out in the east-end.
The one question that comes to my mind when I read this is: Do we really need more hockey rinks?
I guess this is a very un-Canadian thing of me to say. I happen to think there’s more to being Canadian than worshipping hockey, lining up at Tim Horton’s for a double-double and every other stereotypical Canadian thing, but that’s a debate for another day.
The City of Toronto boasts it has a multicultural mosaic and welcomes people from all corners of the world to live, work and play here.
I’m willing to bet a large majority of newcomers and residents not born here have never grown up with snow, know what hockey is or care for it.
They’ll most likely never use these facilities so why are we building them? I’m sure the proposed price tag of $88 million could go a long way to fixing and upgrading existing facilities.
If it has to be built why not add something to the design everyone can use? How about adding a recreation centre to the existing plan?
Cricket is exploding across the GTA, why not build more cricket fields? Baseball diamonds are starting to disappear, why not build one more? Or soccer pitches.
I’d like the City to take a step back and re-think this hockey rink complex. If they want more rinks maybe they should call MLSE and their corporate sponsors and get them to build rinks for people to use, if, as MLSE claims, it’s so important to reach out to newcomers and visible minorities and get them into hockey.
There’s a fantastic state-of-the-art practice facility near Lake Shore Blvd. and Kipling built by MLSE a few years ago. I’m sure they can spare a dollar or two to build a few facilities to meet the demand.
For the longest time Maple Leaf Gardens sat empty on purpose because of MLSE’s stubbornness until Ryerson and Loblaws stepped in with a great design for the entire community.
Put something in the neighbourhood that all residents can use. Don’t put something in that only a small percentage of people will use.
The City’s focus should be on growing sports like soccer and basketball and others so Canada won’t be, for example, embarrassed internationally when the soccer team is ranked 101st in the world or when the basketball team can’t qualify for the Olympics even with the best point guard in the world in Steve Nash.
There’s more to life in Toronto and Canada than hockey. Hopefully the City will wake up to this realization and build other recreational facilities for residents before it’s too late.