Košice Steel Arena opened 24th February 2006. Optically enlarged 5 years later With training hall added to south wing. The hall is currently awaiting building approval. Journalist had the chance to check out the first ice yesterday. 93 days remain until the start of the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
Although the building’s foundation stone was laid in April 2009, it wasn’t until as late as November of the same year that construction work began. 14 months later only fine tuning remains: “we are testing out the camera system, seating and equipment. We are going to check the security system to avoid surprises. We created some ice to test if the freezing was at the required level. This is one of the reasons we then melt it – so we can easily check and prepare everything for the World Championship” stated Steel Arena general manager Igor Havrila.
The rink in the training hall is of Canadian proportions – 56 x 26 metres and 11.5 metres high and is at the same height as the Steel Arena rink To allow the icers to cross from one rink to the other. The tribune holds a capacity of 300 spectators, under which ten dressing rooms will be located and later serve hockey championship youth teams after the championship. 50 parking spaces will also be available “when compared to the Steel Arena, the training hall rink can be made faster – within one and a half days - and the ice will be better quality. The greatest difference is that we use steel pipe cooling in the training hall. In the Steel Arena the pipes are plastic, Which is an insulator, thus cooling takes longer and consumes more electricity. This was the main reason for the change and so far we are very very satisfied.” The rest of the ice in the training hall will be prepared and ready for the 2011 IIHF World Championship at the end of March.
“In some hockey arenas there is only one timer, we are going to have two in the training hall,” said Havrila. This is the result of having the new cube in the Steel Arena. The four previous big screens divided the gates to the Steel Arena and the training hall.
The bulb lighting is also interesting “we hesitated at first, but now we are happy with the results. The lighting can be regulated from between 0 and 800 lumen depending on whether there is skating, hockey training or a championship match at the venue. Therefore operating expenses can be reduced,” claimed project manager Jozef Haborák, who also stated that all work had been carried out as per the schedule and that the hall was set to be approved towards the end of February. The costs for the construction are around 4 million Euros.
Work is still continuing on the nearby car park. The four story building (roof parking also available) will hold some 496 parking spaces and will be ready for visitors to the 2011 IIHF World Championship. Costs equate to 2.792 million Euros.