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Cool plan to convert Masters building into ice rink

OPPORTUNITY: Ipswich’s Anthony Kimlin in action for the Australian ice hockey team. If the Masters building at Springfield Central becomes an ice hockey rink it will draw elite teams and boost community participation.
OPPORTUNITY: Ipswich’s Anthony Kimlin in action for the Australian ice hockey team. If the Masters building at Springfield Central becomes an ice hockey rink it will draw elite teams and boost community participation. Contributed

IT IS a cool idea, no doubt.

Moves are afoot to turn the Masters building at Springfield Central into the headquarters of Ice Hockey Queensland (IHQ) and convert the building into a state-of-the-art ice hockey rink.

The innovative plan has the backing of Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, who said that such a development would leave a wonderful legacy for the city for generations.

A new headquarters would enable IHQ to field a team in the national league and host elite overseas teams in tournaments.

IHQ has submitted an expression of interest to Woolworths to secure the site at Springfield Central.

To that end, experienced development consultant Rob Camping was engaged by IHQ to investigate the possibilities at Springfield Central.

He said the IHQ was looking to repurpose an existing building and the Masters building might be "just the right size".

"We need to do some investigations of the space inside the building to see if it can accommodate an ice rink," he said.

"Right now those investigations are under way.

"Ice rinks are not meant to have columns sticking up through them. The shopping centre is full of columns and we have to figure out how to remove them, which is what the builder is doing at the moment.

"The opportunity is certainly there and if we can get somebody like Paul Pisasale behind us it would be brilliant."

The QT understands that Woolworths is unlikely to want competitors such as Costco or IGA in the building.

IKEA is keen, but their issue is that the building is too small with a site at Bundamba more in line with their requirements.

Cr Pisasale said "there was a lot of interest in the building", with IKEA in the mix.

"It would be a great site to be the Ice Hockey Queensland headquarters and for the city to get behind a team in the national comp and host international teams," he said.

"Importantly, it would open up a new sport for Ipswich people in ice hockey."

IHQ president Con Dionissiou said securing a headquarters to be proud of was what his organisation was committed to achieving.

"Our number one priority is to establish an ice hockey-centric facility in south-east Queensland," he said.

At present IHQ has an office that operates out of Acacia Ridge Ice World, but Mr Dionissiou said that was not ideal.

The site at Springfield would change all that.

"While it would be the home of Ice Hockey Queensland, it would be a multi-sport and multi-use facility so it could be used for community events, figure-skating, curling, speed skating and other ice-type events," he said.

At present ice hockey shares what is known as 'ice time' at the Boondall and Acacia Ridge centres with other ice sports.

"There is not enough ice time to go around for all the ice sports," he said.

"Ice hockey has grown and we have outgrown those two establishments, both of which probably don't meet the needs of the elite level athlete from a facilities perspective.

"We are falling behind the southern states.

"We don't have teams in the national competition at senior or junior level, because we don't have the ice time."

Topics:  editors picks, ice rink, ipswich, masters




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