A large refrigeration unit at the Cross Insurance Arena, worth about $100,000, was donated in June to Midcoast Youth Hockey Association to use in their new Topsham ice arena. Photo by Bill Huot

TOPSHAM — The Midcoast Youth Hockey Association has an agreement with Seacoast United to buy the former Roller World building and land along Route 201 for a new three-season indoor ice arena.

Bill Patterson, the ice arena project manager for Midcoast Youth Hockey, said the non-profit organization will buy approximately half the land at the site, including the building that previously housed a roller skating rink at 20 Atwood Road.

“We’ll renovate that for lock rooms and we’ll also keep the existing turf room in there for floor sports and activities and the public can continue to rent that,” Patterson said Tuesday.

The youth hockey organization plans to construct an NHL-size rink where the temporary outdoor rink is located, which will return later this winter.

The new arena will likely have minimal seating since it is anticipated local high school hockey games will continue to be held at Bowdoin College’s Sidney J. Watson Arena in Brunswick.

Four local high school hockey teams practice at the college arena.

Patterson hopes to close on the property in April 2021, subject to raising enough money for construction in 2021. The arena would then open next winter. The project is a complete redevelopment of the site with new parking and lighting.

The Midcoast Youth Hockey Association will announce a fundraising campaign for the new arena to complement its financing.

“The final price tag is still subject to planning details,” Patterson said.

Midcoast Youth Hockey had planned to build a new ice arena at Brunswick Landing still as of December 2019 when Patterson said the project was expected to cost $4 million to $5 million. It was unclear if an arena would be allowed on the former Navy property once transferred to the town. Midcoast Youth Hockey then set their sights on the property in Topsham that is already used as a recreation center.                  

“This opportunity lets us control our destiny and for the first time in what have really been decades of discussion about another ice rink in the area,” Patterson said.

The Midcoast Youth Hockey Association has 200 to 30o kids in its program and will offer public skating and the traditional skate rental, Patterson said.

A.J. Kavanaugh has coached the men’s hockey team at Mt. Ararat High School since 2015 and previously coached the middle school team starting in 2006.

“Even before Watson arena was built, Mt. Ararat High School going back to the ’70s practice before 5 a.m., and it’s a tradition that, for better or worse, continues, except for this year with Bowdoin College closed to the public,” due to the pandemic, Kavanaugh said.

It has affected players’ sleep and study habits when they rise at 3:30 a.m. for practice. Kavanaugh said his players get between 30 and 35 hours of practice a season, compared to 50 to 60 hours some teams get in stronger programs.

“I think having that rink will offer a ton of different opportunities,” he said.

This story has been updated to correct the number of schools practicing at Bowdoin College.

 

A large refrigeration unit at the Cross Insurance Arena, worth about $100,000, was gifted to Midcoast Youth Hockey Association to use in their new Topsham ice arena slated for construction next year. Photo by Bill Huot

 

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