Members of Bob Dauphinee’s family and friends sit in the maroon seats for a group shot during a sneak peek at the arena in August.

A New Building For An Old Tradition

By Gail Lethbridge | fall 2019

hen you first see the Dauphinee Centre on the campus of Saint Mary’s University, you might think you are looking at a business school or a newly-minted administration centre.

It is modern, angular, shining, sophisticated, with lines that are very twenty-first century.

That is a long way away from the old-school rinks of yesterday.

But when you walk inside, there is no question of its purpose. This is a rink and hockey will be played here as it has been played at Saint Mary’s for many years. The new complex carries on a long tradition of hockey at Saint Mary’s.

The new varsity hockey season is already well underway in its new home since the official ribbon cutting at the Dauphinee Centre in September.

People at Saint Mary’s are genuinely excited about this arena. It’s put a spring in the step of the whole SMU sports community.

“It’s modern, bright and truly the right size for our campus,” says Director of Athletics and Recreation, Scott Gray. “Every time I walk into the facility it brings a smile to my face.”

That smile has been replicated many times over as varsity athletes, Saint Mary’s students, and members of the community enter this brand-new building.

And no wonder.

Inside this modern complex is an NHL-sized ice surface surrounded by seating that will accommodate 850 fans with excellent sightlines. With standing room, the Dauphinee Centre can hold a capacity crowd
of 1200.

Not bad for a university campus rink.

The ice will be home to the women’s and men’s varsity hockey teams and the club women’s ringette team.

“I think it brings students, alumni, and the community together, and allows those who live on campus or nearby, to experience a true university hockey game.”

This facility isn’t just for varsity teams. It will also be used for staff and student recreational skating is available for local hockey teams and community skating.

And this rink has something else that many students, parents and fans have probably wished for as they sat watching early morning hockey practices and game: there is a warming room and fan box overlooking the ice. Even when there isn’t hockey games, many SMU students can be found up there studying or socializing.

There is an overhead enclosed walkway, the Pseudio Link, that connects the centre to the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness.

All of this is possible due to philanthropy.

The Dauphinee Centre is named in honour of the late Bob Dauphinee BComm’60, a SMU alumnus and community champion, who donated $2 million for an arena through his estate. Dauphinee was a varsity athlete in football and hockey at Saint Mary’s.

The warming room and other facility enhancements were made possible by another gift of $2 million, this one from local entrepreneurs Glen and Nancy Holmes who are the parents of two current Saint Mary’s students.

The Holmes’ are the owners of a national chain of retail stores, which include Pseudio, Samuel & Co and Envy Clothing Company.

The warming room, also known as The Barbara Holmes Gathering Centre, is named for Glen Holmes’ mother.

The entire complex cost $15.45 million to construct and occupies the former site of the Saint Mary’s Alumni Arena which was torn down to make way for this project.

Just as the Alumni Arena defined the hockey tradition of Saint Mary’s for the last fifty years, the Dauphinee Centre will characterize hockey, student life, and community for the next
fifty years.

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