The Ottawa Senators, in conjunction with the City of Ottawa, unveiled the Richcraft Sensplex today. The state-of-the-art facility is the third of its kind, joining the Bell Sensplex in Kanata and the Cavanagh Sensplex in Kinburn, which includes four ice pads and incorporates the JB Potvin Arena.
The project was borne out of a significant shortage of ice time to match the demand in Ottawa East. Upon the finalization of the plans for the new rink, the city of Ottawa, the Senators and corporate partners worked towards the creation of the new Sensplex.
With the addition of the Richcraft Sensplex and its three brand new rinks, residents can expect a significant increase in the availability of ice time. Canadian Tire, Hockey Eastern Ontario and Scotiabank will serve as the title sponsors of the new rinks.
"It's a great day. I've been out a few times during construction but haven't seen it finished. It's a spectacular facility," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "It's certainly our Sensplex version 2.0, it's new and improved and it's going to be a great addition to our city."
Among the dignitaries on hand were Leeder, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, Ottawa city councilman Tim Tierney and Senators defenceman Cody Ceci. Ottawa natives and fellow NHLers Grant Clitsome and Erik Gudbranson were also on-hand.
"I think it's awesome, we were lucky enough to have something like Ray Friel (Recreation Complex) in Orleans and from there on out there was never much here," said Ceci. "(J.B.) Potvin was always a cool arena to play, I liked having the open glass on the end. I took a walk over earlier and this whole facility is unbelievable. It's going to help a lot kids out."
Ceci's minor hockey roots also make a cameo in the decorative touches around the building.
"Just growing up in the community and playing in the Sens Skills challenge and all the things associated with the Sens was awesome for me. To walk in the door, look to the right and there's a picture of me from the Sens Skills competition from when I was younger is pretty cool. To be part of something as big as this is pretty awesome."
Richcraft Sensplex is the latest project in a long line of collaboration between the Senators and the city of Ottawa. The ribbon will be cut on the latest Sens RINK in Bayshore Park next week with other projects in the works.
Not only will the Richcraft Sensplex be a valuable community recreation piece, but it will be an economic driver. The new building's ability to host tournaments will bring in an estimated $15 million to the Ottawa community on an annual basis.
"It's been a real solid partnership with the Ottawa Senators. Everything from the Rink of Dreams at City Hall to the 20 community rink program — we're hoping to get another one up in the next week or so — the Bell Sensplex in the west end, the Richcraft Sensplex in the east end," said Mayor Jim Watson. "It's a real solid relationship and it's one built on mutual respect. We have some things we can bring to the table and the Sens have a lot of things they can bring to the table. It's a win-win."
Those looking to stop by the Richcraft Sensplex can do so at 813 Shefford Rd. You can learn more about the facility and the programs it offers at the official Sensplex site here.