The new ice rink at the Lancerlot Sports Complex in Vinton – once home to the minor league Virginia Lancers hockey team before the roof caved in during a snowstorm more than 30 years ago – should be open for business by mid-September.
So says Jason Pollard, managing partner for the new rink and one of ten investors in the Roanoke Valley’s second sheet of ice after the Berglund Center, where recreation hockey leagues and public skating sessions must compete for time with concerts, monster truck shows and other events.
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs are also a partner in the new Lancerlot ice rink and envision holding some practices their when the Berglund Center coliseum is not available. It may also be the venue for playoff games, with Pollard saying they may be able to shoehorn 1200-1500 fans in to there.
He says some fans many have to stand at first with temporary bleachers then being installed before the Virginia Tech club hockey team opens its season on September 21 at the Lancerlot – in their new home rink – will give way at some point to more permanent grandstands. Roanoke County and the fire marshals will have to sign off on what capacity they see fit for the rink.
Pollard spoke recently after the miles of refrigeration tubing that will keep the ice frozen had been installed and leak tested, but before concrete had been poured over that tubing. Pollard “anticipates opening in mid-September” with “opening day plans [before that] in the works. Right now we are keeping that day just a little bit loose.”
A rec league hockey player himself, Pollard can’t wait to see the first dedicated ice rink in the valley since the Ice Station closed down years ago. “We’re ecstatic – like kids in a candy shop. Everybody goes over there [frequently]. The excitement level just grows. I anticipate that I will be one of the first couple of people on the ice.”