Hamilton, ON officials should consider the construction of a new arena, according to Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer.
Members of the OHL, the Bulldogs play their games at FirstOntario Centre, a 17,383-seat arena that opened in 1985 with NHL ambitions in mind. With the facility’s age and condition prompting questions about its future, Andlauer is expressing interest in working with local government to finance and construct a new arena.
The plan, according to Andlauer, should be to focus on constructing a smaller facility. Rather than a replacement that rivals the FirstOntario Centre in terms of size, he believes the city should consider a $60 to $100 million arena with a smaller seating capacity that is more in line with rival OHL facilities. In addition, Andlauer has expressed an interest in funding half the cost. More from Global News:
Andlauer says his time touring Ontario and visiting other OHL arenas has made him eager to get the ball rolling on a 5,000- to 10,000-seat arena, which he expects would cost between $60 million and $100 million depending on the size and scope.
Andlauer says he would pay half and let the city decide where it goes.
“I don’t want to dictate that. I don’t know any better than the city councillors who represent the city,” Andlauer said. “You have got to do something. You can’t just keep the status quo. It doesn’t work in Hamilton.”
Earlier this year, a consultant’s report estimated that FirstOntario Centre would require $252 million in renovations to bring it to NHL standards, with a partial renovation costing $68 million. However, Hamilton officials declined to allocate funds a significant renovation, and instead passed a plan for the city to “manage the lifecycle” of the venue using money in the existing capital budget.