CAA Arena

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CAA Arena
Yardmen Arena.JPG
Former namesQuinte Sports Centre (1978–)
Yardmen Arena (–2018)
Location265 Canifton Road, Belleville
OwnerCity of Belleville
OperatorCity of Belleville
CapacityIce hockey: 4,400
Field size200 feet (61 m) X 85 feet (26 m)
SurfaceMechanically-frozen ice
Construction
Broke ground1976
Built1976-1978, 2017
Opened1978, 2017
Closed2016
Tenants
Belleville Bulls (OHL) (1981–2015)
Belleville Senators (AHL) (2017–present)

CAA Arena is a 4,400-seat multi-purpose arena in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. It is the home of the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League (AHL). Built in 1978, it was then known as the Quinte Sports Centre and eventually Yardmen Arena. It is the former home of the Ontario Hockey League's Belleville Bulls, who moved to Hamilton, Ontario, following the 2014–15 season and became the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Description[edit]

The arena's name is in honour of a small group of railroaders known as "The Belleville Yardmen" who raised more than CA$3 million to contribute to its construction. The arena was built with an international sized ice surface of 200 ft. length by 100 ft. width. It was the largest ice surface in the Ontario Hockey League. This has since been converted to a standard NHL-sized rink. The arena is one of four ice rinks in the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre complex.

Yardmen Arena has two balconies, on opposite sides of the ice. It was the only arena in the Ontario Hockey League to have a second level of seating until Budweiser Gardens was built in London, Ontario in 2002.

History[edit]

The arena was opened in 1978. The Belleville Bulls started as a Junior Tier II team in the OHA. On February 2, 1981, the OHL granted an expansion franchise to the city of Belleville and the ownership group of Dr. Robert L. Vaughan & Bob Dolan, and the Bulls joined the OHL. The team played in the arena until 2015, when it was sold and moved to Hamilton. The Yardmen Arena has hosted the OHL All-Star Game twice, in 1983 and 2006.

Yardmen Arena hosted an NHL pre-season game between the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets on September 14, 2013 as part of the Kraft Hockeyville festivities. Nearby Stirling-Rawdon won the Kraft Hockeyville contest in 2012, but the original game scheduled between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets was cancelled due to the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

During the 2015–16 hockey season, Yardmen Arena hosted three Federal Hockey League games, with the intent of the league exploring the location for a team. If Belleville had been given a franchise, their nearest opponent would have been the Watertown Wolves across the US/Canada border, about 100 miles away in Watertown, New York. The games all had the Berlin River Drivers as the home team against and the Port Huron Prowlers on December 12, the Danbury Titans on January 2, and the Dayton Demolition on February 13.[1]

In summer 2016, it was reported that the Ottawa Senators were considering moving their American Hockey League affiliate, then known as the Binghamton Senators, to Yardmen Arena for the 2017–18 AHL season.[2] Upgrades would have to be made to accommodate an AHL franchise including repairing the boards, the floor refrigeration system, and increasing the arena's capacity.[3] The transfer was confirmed in September 2016, after Belleville City Council approved a $20.5 million upgrade to the arena. The upgrades included an increase in capacity to 4,400, a new NHL-sized rink, new home team dressing room, new refrigeration system, new score clock, new washrooms and a new public entrance and in effect lead to a rebuilding of the arena.[4] The Belleville Senators agreed to a lease for eight years. The team played their first month of the 2017–18 AHL season on the road and opened their inaugural season at the Yardmen Arena on November 1, 2017, to a sold out crowd.

On September 19, 2018, the Senators sold the naming rights of the arena and it became officially known as CAA Arena for the 2018–19 season.[5] The naming rights contract is for seven years.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal Hockey League | Pointstreak Stats". Fhl_league.stats.pointstreak.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  2. ^ "Binghamton Sens moving north to Belleville say Broome County officials". Ottawa Citizen. July 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "Report: Sens to move AHL affiliate to Belleville | The Hockey News". www.thehockeynews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "$20.5 Million upgrades approved for Yardmen Arena - Quinte News". Quinte News. September 26, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  5. ^ "YARDMEN ARENA RENAMED". Quinte News. September 19, 2018.
  6. ^ Belleville Senators (September 19, 2018). "Belleville Senators to play out of newly renamed CAA Arena; special tribute to Yardmen Arena history planned" (Press release).

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°11′19″N 77°22′58″W / 44.18861°N 77.38278°W / 44.18861; -77.38278