What's the deal about rink size?

I've seen some questions here about smaller rinks. I've recently talked to Donna Wilson of VANOC and she said that that GM Place can accomodate both sizes and that they were supposed to build a 2nd rink for UBC to replace Thunderbird Arena that could accomodate both, but halfway through the preparations, the IIHF and IOC changed plans.

What's the deal?

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    There is no deal about rink size. I've sent out an email and received the following email back from Hockey Canada

    "General Motors Place was originally built to be able to switch back and forth between the two sizes and it can (at the time of construction it was already in the back of people's minds to bid for the Winter Olympics down the road). Prior to the selection of Vancouver, several IOC delegates visited GM Place to see the switchover procedure.

    The UBC Thunderbird Arena which was built brand new for these games is also able to accomodate an International Ice sheet, and seat close to 8000 people.

    The original bid had $23MM in renovations to GM Place to make the building less corporate, and $26MM to build the UBC Thunderbird Arena. The final cost exceeded these numbers.

    In short, had the IOC told us on February 11th that the games would now be played on the International Ice surface, both Canada Hockey Place and the UBC Thunderbird Arena we're ready to comply and the games would have been played on the larger ice surfaces. There was never any issue on the part of Hockey Canada (or VANOC) as this was the original requirement and accomodated in the original bid, and construction had already started on the UBC Arena by the time the IIHF had made the decision to use the smaller rinks.

    There has been a great deal of misconception among the media about the change, however the size change was not initiated by Hockey Canada or VANOC, no money was saved as a result of this change, nor will the extra seating in both arenas offset the costs."

    Tom - there is absolutely no provisions in the CBA detailing that the players must play on NHL sized ice surfaces. The CBA strictly deals with the relationship between the players and the owners. There is no third party details in the CBA (Hockey Canada, IOC, IIHF, etc). On page 112 of the CBA, the only statement is that the NHL and NHL Players MUST commit to take part in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games pending negotiations with the IIHF. Had the rink size been an issue (and again, the 2010 bid (submitted in 2003) was based on an expectation that the tournament would be played on IIHF sized rinks which Vancouver already had (GM Place) and built (UBC Thunderbird Arena)) then the NHL would not have participated in Turin.. It was 2.5 years AFTER the CBA was signed off, and 4 years AFTER the bid was submitted that the IIHF adopted the "North American" rink size for all IIHF sanctioned tournaments in NOrth America between 2008, and 2013. That change was made more because the province of Quebec had no deseire to make the Colisee accomodate international ice surfaces for the 2008 World Championships (something Halifax was willing to do) in part because Quebec wants to replace the Colisee and refurbishing an arena that is going to be taken out of commission soon is not money well spent (not that Quebec spends well). Here's the link to the CBA...the details are on page 112

    http://www.nhlpa.com/About-Us/CBA/

    Source(s): Hockey Canada
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  • 1 decade ago

    The plan to go with the NHL size rink was to accommodate the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks. The cost to refit GM Place to International size would not be carried by the Vancouver Canucks. Also the agreement between the NHL, and NHLPA to play in these Olympics required that the games be played on NHL size ice.

    Remember that over 85% of the players on the top 6 seeded teams were NHL players or had experience on NHL sized rinks. So the play was fair for all.

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