Leaside Arena Expansion Project gets green light from City Hall

Second rink at Leaside will be first new arena built by the City of Toronto in more than thirty years

28 February 2011

Toronto City Council gave its approval to the Leaside Arena Expansion Project when it passed the City’s 2011 Capital Budget this past Thursday.

Plans to build the much-needed second rink at Leaside Gardens have been in the works for more than a decade.  They began to accelerate in 2009 when the City purchased the land adjacent to the current arena where the second rink will be built.  In 2010 a local family stepped forward with a major anonymous donation which enabled the hiring of an architect and planning work with city officials to begin in earnest.

The Leaside Arena Expansion Project will cost an estimated $9.5 million, of which $7 million will come from a city-guaranteed loan to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 million must be raised by the primary partner groups and the local community.

Ward 26 Councillor John Parker, who has been working towards the second rink at Leaside Gardens for the past ten years, first on the arena board and now on city council, said, “This is great news for all the kids who will be able to use the new rink in the years to come.  But we’re not across the goal line yet – we need all families in Leaside and the surrounding area to step up and contribute to the community portion of the cost to make this project a reality.”

“We’re thrilled to have cleared this major hurdle,” said Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer.  “But we still have a lot of work to do.  The donor family did their part to get things moving.  City Council has done its part by approving the project.  Now it’s up to the community to do our part and raise the $2.5 million.”  Mercer added that fundraising efforts with the primary partner groups and the community have already been underway for several months.  “We’re more than half way towards our goal but we have more to raise before August 1st in order to keep the project on schedule.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to the project should speak with an expansion committee member or visit our donations page.

For further information on the Leaside Arena Expansion Project

Arena Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer, 416-464-2156 or pmercer@mercermyers.ca

Or Ward 26 Councillor John Parker, 416-392-0215 or councillor_parker@toronto.ca

Or see Backgrounder: “Leaside Arena Expansion Project”.

A Family that Plays Together

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It’s half past five and dawn is casting its early light along the snowbanks. Team Kypreos is transporting skaters out to at least one of three possible practices.With three children, ages 6, 10 and toe-dragging on the threshold of 12, this is a common occurrence for Nick and his wife, Anne Marie.

“I personally am a huge fan of the morning practice,” says the Rogers Sportsnet Hockeycentral analyst. “Being the only one on the road at that time of day, finding a way to sneak in a coffee or bagel before practice on Bayview is a bit of a tradition for me and my kids now.”

Kypreos is no stranger to the road, being a former Toronto Maple Leaf and Stanley Cup winner in 1994 with New York Rangers.

Still, a penalty Kypreos would like to kill is travel time.

“Our community puts, at last count, over 300,000 kilometres on driving outside of our community to get to rinks,” he said. “So first and foremost being able to play right in Leaside, GTHL games, I think would mean an awful lot to our community.

“That’s pretty much our number one goal, to really embrace our community in an ongoing basis,” he added. “We don’t play games in Leaside, unfortunately, and we should.”

So with that, Kypreos admitted, the Bayview heartline could use another rink because of the rich tradition of hockey there.“The focus is on a second ice pad, which we feel like we’re getting closer (to), but there’s still some obstacles to get over,” he said. “We feel like we can be the first rink up and running in Toronto in the last 40 years almost.”

When Kypreos uses the second person, he’s referring to all Leasiders who have come to the aid of Canada’s game. Though Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and Buds legend Doug Gilmour are looking to give a glove up, an entire community is ready to throw the gloves off for their cause.

“There are challenges for sure with the figure skating and the girls hockey, but a second icepad would alleviate a lot of those hurdles,” Kypreos said of getting a new rink. “We’re definitely trying our best to let the next generation hopefully follow in our footsteps of trying fulfill their dreams.”

The hockey tradition that permeates a small parcel of East York also blankets a portion of Kypreos’ property.

In his backyard, a homemade rink beckons the retired NHLer’s kids. Sons Zachary, Theo, playing AA peewee and A atom respectively, along with daughter Anastasia, fresh-footed in the girls league, take the surface. Nick’s wife Anne Marie, a native Floridian turned “excellent hockey mom”, also enjoys the steady flow of stick-meets-puck.

As a father, Kypreos is just passing down what he loves most.

“At the end of the day, the only tradition that you want to make sure you pass along is there is only one reason why you play this game to begin with and that is to have fun,” Kypreos said. “The moment it really doesn’t become fun is the moment you’ve got to find something else to do.”

For the Kypreos family, as well as Leasiders, there’s no fun lost, only expansion.

Source: MyTownCrier.ca