By Allison Gerrard |
In mid-June, more than 150 Saint Mary’s supporters crowded into the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness to celebrate the unveiling of a new on-campus arena. Students, staff, faculty, coaches, alumni, politicians, and donors saw architectural renderings of the structure and heard, for the first time, what the arena will be called. The facility, which will house an NHL-sized ice surface, will be home to the men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams.
“For 50 years, the old Alumni Arena served as a community gathering space,” says Dr. Rob Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University. “We’re now in the position of being able to build an upgraded arena, where Saint Mary’s will continue its proud and successful hockey tradition for generations to come.”
The much-anticipated building, which will have the capacity to host more than 1200 fans, is named in honour of the late Bob Dauphinee, a Saint Mary’s alumnus, philanthropist, and community champion, who bequeathed $2 million to the University. Members of Dauphinee’s family were on-hand for the arena’s naming.
“He wanted this campus to have a new arena – one that could be used by both Saint Mary’s and its neighbours,” says Dennis Connolly, executor of the Dauphinee estate.
“And as Bob’s long-time friend and business partner, I’m confident he’d approve of The Dauphinee Centre. He’d approve of its purpose, its design, and the role it will have in the community.”
The Dauphinee Centre will feature an upper-level warming room with an attached fan area that overlooks the ice surface, a pedway link to the Homburg Centre for Health and Wellness, and men’s and women’s varsity dressing rooms that are equal to the best junior hockey facilities in the country. These arena enhancements are being made possible through a generous gift of $2 million from local entrepreneurs Glen and Nancy Holmes, owners of Pseudio, Samuel & Co, and Envy. They’re also the proud parents of two Saint Mary’s students.
“As a family, we are thrilled to play a role in the building of what will be one of the best arenas in the region for player and fan experience,” says Glen Holmes. “And as local entrepreneurs, we believe it’s important to give back to the community; this facility will be key to the Saint Mary’s experience, and will benefit everyone as a community resource and gathering place. We are enjoying watching the construction and can’t wait to celebrate the opening and see the first puck drop at a Huskies game.” Scott Gray, the University’s Director of Athletics and Recreation, is also excited about the opening of the new arena. “It will contribute to student and athlete recruitment, and it will be a place where Saint Mary’s will continue to engage with our community – some of us as athletes, others of us as sports and recreation enthusiasts.” Alumnus and former varsity hockey player, Brian Fulton, BA’85 flew in from Toronto to be a part of The Dauphinee Centre’s launch.
“I can’t think of a better reason to be back on campus,” says Fulton, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “When I was asked to be the emcee for this event, I thought back on my days as a hockey Husky. And here we are years later, gathered to celebrate the construction of a brand-new facility that will not only benefit the University but the Halifax community as a whole.”
With construction already well underway, and with a budget of $14.8 million, The Dauphinee Centre is scheduled to open in time for the 2019 hockey season.
To keep an eye on arena milestones, visit https://news.smu.ca/arena.