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University of Saskatchewan looking to private sector for new ice rink

The University of Saskatchewan looking at the private sector to build, run new arena to replace Rutherford Rink.
The University of Saskatchewan looking at the private sector to build, run new arena to replace Rutherford Rink. Leslie Knight / Global News

SASKATOON – A new arena may soon replace Rutherford Rink at the University of Saskatchewan – that is if there is interest from the private sector.

The university announced on Friday it will be issuing a request for expressions of interest in building an ice facility in College Quarter, which is part of the master plan for the area.

The process will be similar to one used in 2013 for a hotel development.

“After the hotel development was announced we received a number of informal inquiries about the university’s plans to replace Rutherford Rink, which was built in 1929 and is among the oldest facilities in the country still used for Canadian Interuniversity Sport-level competition,” said Judy Yungwirth, director of corporate administration.

“The university wants to determine exactly what the level of interest is, and to find out if we can get a new facility without incurring additional capital or operating costs.”

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If it goes ahead, the agreement would involve a long-term land lease to an outside firm to build and operate a rink.

Along with hosting Huskies hockey games, over 800 students play in campus recreational games, so a new rink would be well used.

“It’s another facility students can access that will enhance their opportunity to participate in physical activity and meet the overall vision of the athletics, health and wellness area in College Quarter,” said Carol Rodgers, the dean of the college of kinesiology.

Rodgers added a new facility would be an opportunity to upgrade the sound system and press boxes along with better training facilities, locker rooms and coaching space.

Companies that have already expressed interest will be given the submissions and it will also be advertised.

University officials say it will likely be mid-summer before proposals are analyzed and a decision is made.