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Lightning and Florida Hospital team up to break ground on Ice Complex in Wesley Chapel

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Florida’s largest ice rink facility and sports complex officially broke ground off Interstate 75 at the State Road 56 interchange in Wesley Chapel today. The 150,000 square-foot sports facility will include four full-sized rinks, including one Olympic-sized hockey rink. In addition to the four ice pads, including a removable pad that can double as a multi-purpose floor for basketball and even graduations, the $20-million dollar facility will also be home to a sports-themed family restaurant. Developer Gordie Zimmermann of ZMitch, LLC who unveiled the plan last year for Pasco’s Tourist Development Council, says the facility will open its doors to the community this year. He also says, once completed this fall, it will be the largest ice sports facility in the southeastern USA.

“The development of hockey and ice sports has leaped to the next level in Florida. In addition to the success of the Tampa Bay Lightning, our partners at Z Mitch saw an opportunity to help fill a void. Limited ice availability throughout the region has stalled future growth and now we have an opportunity to provide a world class program where our youth can develop to the highest levels without leaving the state to fulfill their dreams,” said Zimmermann, Managing Partner Z Mitch LLC.

Zimmermann, who used to be the General Manager of the Brandon ice facility, is excited to announce Florida Hospital is a partner in the ice and sports complex. Florida Hospital will be a major sponsor of the facility and will provide educational programs on sports performance and injury prevention. In addition, Florida Hospital will provide athletic training, sports performance programs in the facility and much more. Because this will be a community based facility, ZMitch and Florida Hospital have announced a community Naming Contest. Now through March 10, 2015, community members can submit potential names for the facility at

“Florida Hospital is committed to supporting our community in Wesley Chapel and throughout Tampa Bay. The ice and sports complex is a natural fit for us because of our dedication to wellness and our sports medicine and athletic performance programs,” said Denyse Bales-Chubb, President and CEO of -Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel.

Florida Hospital is also the presenting sponsor of the 2014-2015 and 2015-16 Tampa Bay Lightning seasons, as well as the team’s official health and wellness partner and the official health care provider of the Tampa Bay Storm. The two organizations will work together on creating new programs to be hosted at the new facility, which will have a huge impact on the growth of youth and adult hockey.

“As an organization, the Tampa Bay Lightning is committed to growing awareness of, and participation in, our great sport at every level,” said Jay Feaster, Executive Director of Community Hockey Development. “Having another facility with multiple sheets of ice in our market will enable more people to play hockey, and will allow us to increase on-ice programming through our Lightning Made brand. We look forward to working with the ice complex in growing the game of hockey across the Tampa Bay region.”

The two-story complex will not only feature hockey and figure skating, but will also host curling and other winter sports. One of the rinks would be located in the 20,000-square-foot multi-purpose space that could be converted for indoor sports, such as tennis, basketball, volleyball and arena football. It could also host large corporate meetings and even high school graduations. The facility expects to host more than 1.5 million people per year, with an estimated 40% of those coming from outside the Tampa Bay area. Developers expect the ice complex to bring more than 50 jobs to the area. The facility is also expected to drive business, especially for nearby hotels, hosting regional and national tournaments

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