LOCKPORT – Lockport’s new twin-rink ice complex will open one rink before the other, so a Junior A hockey team won’t have to postpone any of its games.
R. Charles Bell, vice president of Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center, said the plan is to begin making ice in the 400-seat “main rink” at Cornerstone Arena about Sept. 1. The second rink will hold about 200 spectators, Bell said.
“We’re looking to have one of them skateable by mid-September, with the other one shortly after that,” said Bell, who is also the city planning and development director.
The Lockport Express, an expansion team in the Northern States Hockey League, is scheduled to play its season opener in Cornerstone on Sept. 20. Its players will be teenagers hoping to reach higher levels of junior hockey or to win college scholarships. According to the team’s website, practices will begin Friday in Northtown Center, Amherst.
Work on the $14 million complex at Chestnut and Market streets was delayed by a water leak this summer. A city water main burst and water ran into the foundation.
“There is still some water coming in,” said John J. Ottaviano, arena president and city corporation counsel.
“The water is being mitigated,” Bell said. The construction workers dug a sump pit for it to flow into, Ottaviano said.
The building, now enclosed on two sides and partially enclosed on a third side, also will host local high school and youth hockey games and tournaments.
It’s the first indoor ice rink in Lockport since the Kenan Center board decided to shut down the rink in the Kenan Arena in 1986.
Organizers estimate that 150,000 visitors a year, counting players, parents and spectators, will come to Lockport each year because of the hockey programs.
Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union of Lockport signed a 12-year naming rights deal earlier this month.