Hockey will be returning to Maple Leaf Gardens next year, as a renovation of the only remaining Original Six arena will bring an ice surface under the white dome.
The former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs is in the midst of an audacious $71-million renovation that sees a Loblaws store built on the ground level of the arena, a gym floor in the middle and a new ice surface 50 feet above Carlton Street, roughly at the level of the green seats in the photo shown above. The arena will be home to the Ryerson University hockey squad; open skates are also planned.
The installation of an ice surface makes Maple Leaf Gardens the only Original Six arena to still host hockey. Olympia Stadium (Detroit Red Wings), Chicago Stadium (Chicago Black Hawks), Boston Garden (Boston Bruins) and the first two Madison Square Gardens are gone, while the Montreal Forum is now devoted to retail. (Heck, most of the arenas housing teams in the 1967 NHL expansion are gone as well.) One issue remains: Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Leafs, has sued Loblaws and Ryerson to prevent the use of the Maple Leaf Gardens name. Ryerson officials say they’re close to settling the suit.
flickr photo by Rick Harris, taken in 2009.
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