LaHaye gets amakeover
The LaHaye Ice Center is the home to the men’s and women’s hockey teams, the figure skating team and the synchronized skating team. On March 15, that home started to receive a makeover as Liberty began the expansion of the LaHaye Ice Center, and soon that makeover will be complete.
The expansion will bring a significant upgrade to the seating in the stadium and will allow a much more comfortable viewing experience for fans. With close to 1,000 chair back seats and 3,200 bleacher style seats, every fan will have a great view of the ice no matter where they are sitting in the stadium, according to assistant director of Club Sports David Semenyna. Due to the angle of the bleachers, fans will no longer have to look around other fans to see the ice. With the expansion, 10 overhead suites were added to the arena.
“We’ve increased each side of the rink, the east and the west along with the entrance on the south end, it is about 15 to 20 feet on each side,” assistant director of Club Sports David Semenyna said. “It’s given us a more locker rooms, more storage under the bleachers, a lot more seats and a lot more suites. And it’s given us a better viewing experience for the fans.”
The expansion gives each of the hockey teams, the figure skating team and the synchronized skating team their own locker rooms, making practices and basic team storage run more smoothly and efficiently.
The arena is also the headquarters for the Club Sports department, which will expand from 32 to 35 programs next fall, according to libertyflames.com.
“Hockey is pretty popular on campus,” Semenyna said. “And with five hockey teams and a synchronized skating and figure skating team, there are around 150 student athletes that have to get to use the facility. This is a top notch facility and it will just work better for everyone.”
The rink itself is still in use, as the teams are currently using it for practices and tryouts. However, the facility may not be fully functional for a few more months, according to Semenyna. October 23 is the men’s Division I hockey team’s home opener and the arena will be operational, but may not be 100 percent.
“This has actually gone a lot quicker than it normally should and (the workers) have done a lot of work in a short period of time,” Semenyna said. “As of right now, it looks like we are on schedule to hit most of our target dates. Our hope is that it will be fully functional by opening night but it is going to come down to the wire.”
The grand opening of the new arena will be on October 23 as the men’s Division III hockey team takes on James Madison University at 2 p.m. and the Division I team takes on Davenport University at 7 p.m.
Day is a sports reporter.