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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 18:20 GMT
Cardiff temporary ice rink opens
Sarah Notely and Ben Davies
Young skaters Sarah Notely and Ben Davies test the new rink
A temporary ice rink to replace the demolished Wales National Ice Rink in Cardiff has officially opened.

The new rink in Cardiff Bay had been first expected to open in September, but was help up by a number of delays.

The rink, at the International Sports Village, replaces the city centre one demolished for a new shopping scheme.

Elite League side Cardiff Devils will make their debut there on Saturday night against the Newcastle Vipers before a sell-out crowd of 2,000.

The rink, which is being funded by Cardiff Council, was set up after the old rink was demolished as part of the city centre St David's 2 shop scheme.

There has been criticism over the delays in setting up a new rink from management of the Devils.

It has hurt us badly and we're still frustrated we don't have a permanent place
Cardiff Devils owner Maraini Phillips on the delay

They complained they were promised a rink at the start of September and have had to play home games in other cities - a move which the club said had cost them.

Devils owner Maraini Phillips said: "The whole thing has cost us financially and a lot in aggravation.

"We were promised it for 1 September and we brought our players over from Canada, America and eastern Europe and we have to pay the players and house them, yet we had no home games to make money for us to do that.

"It has hurt us badly and we're still frustrated we don't have a permanent place.

'Flat-pack building'

"I've not seen it yet, but I've been told it looks like a flat-pack building.

Wales National Ice Rink
The city's former ice rink was demolished for a new retail centre

"Although I am definitely glad we have finally got somewhere to call home, we just wanted a seat each for all our fans but these delays have cost us financially."

The 2,000-seat arena cost 2.5m to build and will open to the public next Friday.

It is expected to be in place for between three to five years when it will be replaced by a permanent rink, which will have a minimum seating capacity for matches of 4,000.

It will be housed in a multi-purpose arena, funded by the proposed regional casino and would support facilities for the London Olympics in 2012.

Cardiff councillor Nigel Howells, executive member for sport, leisure and culture, said: "I am delighted that the temporary rink has been completed. It is a very impressive venue and I'm sure it will be incredibly popular and successful."

The first public skating sessions will take place on Friday, 8 December at 1600 GMT with a disco session planned for 1930 GMT.




SEE ALSO
Devils ready to fire in new lair
30 Nov 06 |  Ice Hockey
Opening date for delayed ice rink
24 Oct 06 |  South East Wales
Rink delay dashes Devils' hopes
05 Oct 06 |  Ice Hockey
Cricket club rink scheme scrapped
08 Jan 06 |  South East Wales
Work on capital's facelift begins
12 Jul 05 |  South East Wales

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