Progressive Auto Sales Arena
|Former names||Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre (1999–2009; 2015–2016)
RBC Centre (2009–2015)
|Location||1455 London Road
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
|Public transit||Route 9, Sarnia Transit|
|Owner||City of Sarnia|
|Operator||City of Sarnia|
|Genre(s)||sporting events, concerts|
|Capacity||4,118 (Hockey) (5,500 with standing room)
|Opened||September 7, 1998|
|Construction cost||C$15.9 million
($22.1 million in 2016 dollars)
|Structural engineer||Schorn Consultants Inc.|
|Services engineer||Integrated Engineering|
|General contractor||Ball Construction Ltd.|
|Sarnia Sting (OHL) 1998–present|
The Progressive Auto Sales Arena is a 5,500-capacity (4,118-seated) multi-purpose arena in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. It is located on the campus of Lambton College and was opened in September 1998. The Progressive Auto Sales Arena is currently home to the Sarnia Sting OHL ice hockey team. The Sarnia Legionnaires (1969–) Junior B hockey club holds its training camp at the facility before moving to Sarnia Arena for its regular schedule.
The arena features two NHL-sized ice pads, 43 luxury suites, and an in-house, full-service restaurant.
Originally known as the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, the Royal Bank of Canada purchased the naming rights of the arena in October 2009 and renamed it RBC Centre. In September 2015, RBC chose to not renew the sponsorship, thus reverting the arena back to its original name. During the summer of 2016, the City of Sarnia reached an agreement with Progressive Auto Sales on a 10-year naming rights agreement. The new name became Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
In 1994, the Newmarket Royals team was bought by the Ciccarelli brothers and moved to Sarnia, where they were renamed the Sarnia Sting. Though the Sting played their first three seasons at the Sarnia Arena, their relocation was conditional on a new arena being built by the city. The new arena would also become an issue in the November 1994 municipal elections.
There were five sites up for consideration:
- The former CNR railway lands on the banks of the St. Clair River. Proponents argued that placing the new arena here would revitalize Sarnia's declining waterfront. CNR maintained that they would restore the grounds before selling it for development. However, opponents pointed out that the site is not located close to major highways or hotels. More importantly, it was adjacent to the Imperial Oil plant in Chemical Valley and company officials warned that they would be unable to evacuate the arena if an accident occurred.
- A vacant park, just next to CNR lands, bounded by Front Street, Christina Street, and Devine Street. Though considered a separate site, some suggested that it could be combined with the CNR lands for future expansion.
- The former Holmes Foundry Caposite Plant site, bounded by North Christina Street and Exmouth Street. This was considered the best location, since it was close to the Blue Water Bridge border crossing, Highway 402, and the nearby Venetian Boulevard had several hotels (Holiday Inn, Best Western Guildwood Inn), with another hotel (Days Inn) and the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club on Christina Street. However, this was located in the village of Point Edward and many Sarnians, for political reasons, were opposed to building their arena there. (It was considered a lengthy and complicated process for Sarnia to annex the land from Point Edward.)
- Lotte Neeley Park, on the northeast corner of the Highway 40-Highway 7 interchange (Highway 7 has since been downloaded to municipal authorities and renamed London Line 22). It has the advantage of being accessible to the aforementioned routes, Highway 402, and Sarnia Airport. In addition, there are plenty of motels and restaurants on Highway 7, which was known as the "Golden Mile" prior to being largely bypassed by Highway 402.
- Lambton College, where the arena could take advantage of vacant parking lots. The proposed arena would be close to the Canterbury Inn hotel (now Lambton Inn), and shopping establishments on Murphy Road and Exmouth Road, namely big box stores and Lambton Mall. It is also close to Highway 402 and Highway 40, and is a short distance from the Highway 7 motels and restaurants.
Other arenas in the Sarnia area, past and present, include:
- Sarnia Arena
- Children's Arena
- Germain Park Arena
- Clearwater Arena
- Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Last modified 2016-01-22. Retrieved March 2, 2016
- "Sarnia Sports & Entertainment Centre". Schorn Consultants Inc. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- "Past Projects". Integrated Engineering. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- "Selected Public-Private Partnerships Across Canada" (PDF). The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- Simpson, Barbara (August 8, 2016). "Council endorses Progressive deal". Sarnia Observer. Retrieved August 10, 2016.