In Canada, hockey is the most popular sport. So it is not a surprise that a large hockey arena was created in such a big city as Vancouver. Find out who helped to build this beautiful arena and how it developed in our article on vancouver-future.
Who created the ice arena?
This beautiful sports venue appeared thanks to businessman Arthur Griffiths. It is worth noting that he was able to build the arena without using public funds. Griffiths fulfilled his dream by taking great risks while his pockets were empty.
But let’s go back to the backstory. The first big Vancouver hockey arena was suggested to be built in 1965. At that time, former Vancouver mayor Fred Hume wanted to create a hockey arena to bring NHL team to the city. The mayor and Harry Terry applied for money, their idea was approved and funds were allocated for the construction.
Pacific Coliseum was completed in 1968. In 1970 the arena hosted its first NHL game, and Vancouver Canucks hockey club became the owner. Initially everything was great, with local fans and the general public supporting the team. However, at one point everything went wrong. It was revealed that then-owner Thomas Scullen had stolen $3 million from the Vancouver hockey club’s financial fund. Clearly, this led to bad consequences, such as the sale of the team.
At such a difficult time, Frank Griffiths decides to buy the team for the lowest possible price of $8.5 million. During the same period, his son Arthur, 24, graduates from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He decides to help in order to improve the affairs of the hockey club. It was also Arthur’s responsibility to negotiate a site lease with the Coliseum. But it is worth noting that the location of the arena and the unpromising $50 million renovation he and his father did not like. In addition, the transport links were inconvenient; there was no metro system nearby.
In the early 90s, the Griffiths decided to change things up. They purchase 5 acres of land in the centre on the site where Expo 86 was held for $14 million and announced their prospective plans to build a large arena for 20,000 spectators. Interestingly, a large hockey stick had previously been placed on this very spot – a signal that the site had been chosen as suitable.
In 1993, construction began of the Rogers Arena (” then known as General Motors Place”). One of the executives in charge of the structure was Arthur Graffitts.
But the weak Canadian dollar, the NHL lockout of 1994 and cost overruns during construction (the final cost of construction was 160 million Canadian dollars) sadly affected the financial situation of the Graffits.
Despite the problems, the huge and beautiful arena was opened in 1995. However, a year later Arthur Griffiths was forced to sell the arena to cell phone magnate John McCaw.
The arena became home to the Vancouver Canucks hockey club and the Vancouver Grizzlies basketball team. But it is worth noting that the last ones moved with the new owner after 6 years.
Maintenance and the most popular events in the ice palace
In 2006, it was decided to replace the main scoreboard and light board with a newer and more modern one. Four huge screens were installed on the main scoreboard, convenient to watch from all sides. The size of the scoreboard is seven metres long and four metres wide. And after two years, the audio system was changed.
In 2010, during the Winter Olympic Games, there were ice hockey competitions in the arena. The venue hosted a large number of matches, including the finals. The following season, the local Vancouver Canucks pleased fans by reaching the finals, but in the decisive duel at their own stadium they lost to Boston.
In addition to hockey, the arena hosts a large number of events on the ice.
For concert lovers it is also a comfortable venue. Many celebrities have performed here, and the seats are sound-absorbing: they reduce distortion and echo during concerts, making the arena an excellent acoustic environment.