"Ryerson officials confirmed today they are talking with Loblaw's about sharing Maple Leaf Gardens as the site for a new athletic centre, noting students voted this spring in a referendum to chip in $126 each per year towards new sports digs.It's entirely possible this would have uses far beyond hockey. It would be a great facility for basketball, especially with a seating capacity around 5,000-7,000, which would be optimal for international games or something like a CIS Final 8.
"Currently, Ryerson's athletic facilities are located beneath its historic courtyard, but do not include an ice rink. The Ryerson Rams hockey team — and its fans — must schlep from the downtown campus to the George Bell arena near St. Clair Ave. W. and Runnymede Rd.
"In contrast, Maple Leaf Gardens is just blocks from the heart of campus."
— Toronto Star
There is a lot of upside for the university and for athletes if Ryerson gets MLG. It's nothing short of a shame that such an asset has not been used for more than a decade.
Update: More details in the morning edition of The Star.
- Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment VP Bob Hunter says MLSE is "very supportive of Ryerson." Uh-huh.
A condition of the building's sale would be that any arena could not have more than 8,500 seats. That might not be a problem, but MLSE could make it a problem.
- Our founder, James Mirtle, believes MLSE will be on the wrong side of a right issue, 'cause that how it rolls.
- An application for federal funding has been filed.
- Money quote from student and former Rams basketball player Jermaine Bagnall:
"In the grand scheme of university sports facilities across Canada, Ryerson's sports facilities are not great, to put it politely ... To have 'home ice' within walking distance would definitely help school spirit."
- Local MP Bob Rae noted the Gardens was built at the height of the Great Depression, so renovating it now would be "a historical parallel."
- Ryerson's women's hockey team will be an OUA program in 2010-11, so there's some added urgency to get a close-to-campus rink.
Gardens plan sees Loblaws and an arena; Ryerson and grocery giant consider student athletic centre and grocery store (Dana Flavelle, Louise Brown, Vanessa Lu, Toronto Star)
Is hockey coming back to Maple Leaf Gardens (City News)
Loblaws in talks with Ryerson over Maple Leaf Gardens (Dana Flavelle, Toronto Star)