The University of Georgia club hockey team, which draws around 2,000 fans per game, will soon be playing in a new 5,500-seat arena located just next to the university’s North Campus, according to a report from RedandBlack.com.
Georgia currently plays in the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference.
This past July, the Athens-Clarke County mayor and town commission put forth a proposal to allocate $34 million towards the construction of a new arena located at The Classic Center. The proposal was part of a larger “Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax” proposal, which included a list of special projects the county wanted to complete.
This past November, voters approved the referendum. In addition to Georgia hockey, the arena will also be used for concerts and other events.
“The arena is going to validate and put a big stamp on what we’re trying to build,” head coach Rick Emmett told RedandBlack.com. “Players from coast to coast will take notice about being able to play a club sport that has the facilities that we’ll have.”
Georgia’s club team formed in 1987. Emmett, their coach, is a former defenseman who won an OHL Championship with the Peterborough Petes in 1993; he also won two titles while playing in the now-defunct United Hockey League as a pro.
According to notes from a county meeting held this past July, the $34 million allocated for the expansion of The Classic Center, where the new arena will be built, is in addition to some private funds as well.
Georgia currently plays its games at the Akins Ford Arena at the Classic Center. However, the program also plays some games at The Classic Center’s Foundry Pavilion, which is a covered outdoor venue. In both venues, temporary ice is brought in and put down over carpeting for the team’s home games.