Signs of hockey are already appearing in Belleville, ON, where the Belleville Senators are preparing for their debut season at Yardmen Arena.
Starting with the 2017-18 AHL season, the Ottawa Senators will have their top affiliate playing at a much closer proximity. Last year, the club purchased the then Binghamton Senators with the intention of relocating the team to Belleville after the 2016-17 campaign. (Binghamton received a new team, the Binghamton Devils, after the Albany club relocated.) As part of that arrangement, the Senators would move into a revamped Yardmen Arena.
Over the last several weeks, signs of the Belleville Senators arrival have been abundant. Last week, the team debuted its new logo and wordmark, describing the design as something that is “intended to be classic and versatile.”
“Our goal was to create a symbol that is transcendent,” Senators chief operating officer Rob Mullowney said in a statement. “Our fans will come from many different regions, backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles, and we hope to create a home for them all within our team. This emblem is intended to appeal broadly, no matter who is wearing it, how they are wearing it, or what they are wearing it on.”
The unveiling of the logo was a significant step, helping to establish the club’s identity as the season approaches. However, it is not the only notable development to take place, as the Senators continue to see progress on the renovation of their home arena.
To land the Senators, Yardmen Arena is being renovated as part of a $20.5 million project. Once the renovation is completed, the venue will feature numerous changes that will alter both the fan and player experiences.
Some very visible places within Yardmen Arena will have a different look this fall. New concessions are being added as part of improvements to the concourse, and modifications to the seating will lead to a capacity increase from 3,217 to 4,400.
There is also a focus on premium areas. 450 premium seats will be added during the renovation, while eight luxury suites will be installed on the upper level on the arena’s west side. The upper level on the east side will receive new media booths.
Yardmen Arena is also receiving a notable technology upgrade in the form of a new scoreboard, which will be complemented by an improved sound system. That should add to the gameday experience at an arena that is also receiving plenty of behind-of-scenes changes to accommodate professional hockey.
The Senators will be treated to a 9,000-square-foot locker room that is included in the project. In addition to upgraded facilities for the home team, Yardmen Arena is also receiving improvements to its visiting team areas.
Perhaps the most significant development of late at Yardmen Arena concerns the ice. In July, construction crews poured concrete to accommodate a new ice surface that will help bring the venue to a professional standard.
With these developments taking place, the arrival of the Senators should be an anticipated event in Belleville. The AHL season begins in October, but it will be a few weeks before the Senators play their first home game—a November 1 contest against Syracuse—which should leave time for construction to be completed.
Renderings courtesy Belleville Senators.
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