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The City of Saint John sign is pictured in this file photo. Image: Aaron Sousa

No shortage of spring/summer arena floor space: city

By Brad Perry Apr 24, 2024 | 2:22 PM

Saint John city staff say there is no shortage of arena floor space for spring and summer sports.

Officials are responding to concerns raised by the city’s junior lacrosse club in a recent letter to council.

The Saint John Rapids Lacrosse Club said its teams are often forced to travel as far away as Moncton for practices.

“In the past, we used to have all of the facilities available. Now with the growth of ball hockey and roller derby, there’s a lack of facilities to facilitate all youth sports right now,” President Megan Kingston said in an interview with our newsroom.

Marc Dionne, director of recreational facilities, said there are primarily three sports that use city areas during the spring and summer months: lacrosse, ball hockey, and roller derby.

Dionne said they currently have plenty of arena availability in the evenings and on the weekends.

“The challenge becomes when different organizations want preferences or become more competitive and they can’t practice, for example, on a weekend because they’re away at a tournament,” Dionne told our newsroom.

RELATED: Saint John lacrosse club seeks more facility space

Sports organizations have the chance to request specific rental times ahead of the spring and summer seasons.

Dionne said city staff work to try and book as much time as possible for all of the teams involved.

“Sometimes you may not be able to get your first preference, but I think with the capacity that we have, I think as it stands today, we can accommodate all these requests,” he said.

Despite that, the city has made additional space available in the short term to help accommodate increased demand.

Dionne said the Peter Murray Arena will be made available until early June, when they have to put the ice back in for hockey programming offered by the Lord Beaverbrook Rink.

That is in addition to the Stewart Hurley and Charles Gorman arenas, which offer rentals throughout the spring and summer, he noted.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to try and book as much time as possible for all these organizations,” said Dionne.