Watertown Ice Rink May be Seeking Major Tenant if Bentley Leaves

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Watertown’s ice arena may be losing a key tenant if Bentley University builds an 0n-campus rink for its ice hockey team.

The Bentley hockey team plays its home games and practices at the John A. Ryan Arena, on Paramount Place, just off Pleasant Street. The arena would not have trouble finding groups wanting to replace games Bentley plays in the evening and one weekends, Ryan Arena Director Daniel Brothers told the Town Council during his budget hearing. The challenge will be getting groups during the team’s practice time.

“Two-thirds of what Bentley uses is not prime time. It is 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.,” Daniels said.

Losing a consistent tenant at that time could cost the rink about $25,000 in rental revenues, Daniels said.

The team has been one of the longest users of the rink, starting in 1977 – five years after Ryan Arena opened according to a story on U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO.com). The team started as an NCAA Div. 3 team, but since 1999-2000, the Falcons have been part of the Div. 1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), which has turned into Atlantic Hockey.

Daniels said Bentley has identified a possible site for an on-campus ice rink and university officials will evaluate the proposal. The arena will have a couple years to plan after the decision is made, Daniels said.

“We will have to decide, should we approach another area college?” Daniels said.

According to the USCHO article, Bentley would build the rink along with other planned campus improvements and would shoot to open in by 2018.

The rink is a busy place during the winter, but the during the summer it is largely quiet, except for the maintenance and repair work, Daniels said.

Some Town Councilors asked whether the rink could be rented during the off season – even when there is not ice. Daniels said it the arena is made out of aluminum and cinder block, and is not be the best place to be during the summer.

“I tell people when it is cold out we’re the coldest place and when it is hot out we are the hottest building in town,” Daniels said.

Maintenance crews have a hard time fitting in all the work during the summer to get ready for the next season, Daniels said.

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