MLA Ron Schuler joined the mayor, councillors, town staff, and community volunteers at the Community Recreation and Resource Centre (CRRC) on Tuesday, May 3 to make some big announcements—not the least of which is the welcome promise of a $259,032 grant earmarked for an expansion to event seating at the new arena.
The grant will take a significant bite out of the half-million-dollar projected cost of the seating plan, which will be erected along the west length of the arena. The upscale seating will face the existing bleachers and provide a night-out-on-the-town kind of feel, complete with bistro tables and a bar.
While the funding announcement didn’t come in time to assure completion of the project before the start of this fall’s inaugural Niverville Nighthawks season, board members of the Junior A team now have the green light to kick the project into high gear. They anticipate a full completion of the multi-tiered seating area in time for season two.
“There’s a reason that Niverville is the fastest growing community in Manitoba and the fifth fastest in this great country of ours,” said Schuler. “It’s because you attract people [by offering them] things to do.”
In light of this recent grant, Schuler and many others anticipate that the up-and-coming thing to do in Niverville for locals and visitors alike will be to converge on the CRRC for some rousing games of Junior A hockey.
Bryan Trottier, a member of the Nighthawks board, opened his brief address with a heartfelt “whoop,” a sentiment echoed by all those who’d been working tirelessly to see the project through to this point.
“This is really an exciting time for Niverville,” said Trottier.
The arena upgrade will bring an additional 373 spots for sitting or standing to watch games. The first section will be similar to the existing bleacher area, only with bar seating that faces the ice and a row of bistro-style tables and chairs behind.
A few steps up will take you to the pub-style seating area, with a full bar which will be open during all Nighthawks games and special events. An even higher level will take you to the club room, thoughtfully dubbed “The Kettle,” since a kettle is what you’d call a grouping of nighthawks.
The Kettle is likely to be among the most esteemed seats in the house as the floor area will offer a raised vantage over the ice. Like a roost, for example.
As for the special bevvies that adult game-goers can anticipate, Trottier says the board has been collaborating with a local craft beer maker for a special Nighthawks brew that they can’t wait to introduce to thirsty patrons.
Once the new section is complete, Trottier says the existing bleacher seating will be viewed as the family-friendly zone. Even so, the new section should not be seen as exclusive in any way.
“It’ll be open for everyone,” Trottier says. “When you come to a Nighthawks game, you get to pick which side you want to be on when you buy your ticket.”
The quarter-million-dollar grant for arena seating comprises almost one-third of the new provincial money being doled out to the Springfield-Ritchot constituency as a whole.
Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen