The Chesterfield Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art ice and multi-sport facility, is being developed in Chesterfield Valley to replace Hardees IcePlex, which was sold and demolished in spring 2017. The Complex will provide much needed ice time and recreational facilities for St. Louis youth and adults and attract local and regional sporting events and tournaments, generating jobs and tourism dollars for local businesses. It will also help St. Louis maintain and build upon its reputation as a first-tier hockey and sports town. The new complex is a public-private partnership and will be owned and operated by the Chesterfield Hockey Association, a non-profit organization.
Hardees IcePlex was the largest ice arena in Missouri and one of the largest in the Midwest. It was home to Chesterfield Hockey Association, St. Louis Amateur Blues Association, St. Louis Blues Alumni, Mid-States Club Hockey Association and many other organizations. When it closed in 2017 and was turned over to Top Golf, it left about 25% of St. Louis's hockey community stranded, including several high school teams and thousands of youth and adult players, as well as local figure skating clubs and others who come for “open skate” and “learn to skate” opportunities.
Without a venue in Chesterfield, many who used Hardees IcePlex on a regular basis have had difficulty continuing to participate in hockey and other ice sports. Other ice arenas in the St. Louis area are not only a significant distance away, but are also operating at maximum capacity during prime ice time. In addition, because Hardees was the largest ice arena in Missouri, it hosted many local and regional tournaments and sporting events that will now be challenged to find a new home. An example of this is the Missouri Hockey Youth Division’s State Championship Tournament (SCT), now called THE BLUE NOTE CUP, in honor of their partnership with the St. Louis Blues.
In addition to curtailing ice sports, the closing of the Hardees IcePlex is also likely to have a negative impact on the local economy. The Hardees IcePlex has generated millions of dollars of annual income to local businesses through hotel stays, restaurant and retail sales. A typical tournament weekend at the IcePlex, with over 16 teams participating, generated a tremendous six-figure economic impact.
This comes at a time when St. Louis is finding success as a hub for amateur and professional hockey. Five players from St. Louis were selected in the first round of the NHL draft in June 2016. The St. Louis Blues are one of the more successful NHL teams in terms of attendance, and they have placed first or second in the Central Division every year for the past several years.
The loss of the Hardees IcePlex will have a significant impact on the growth of our sport. The current facility supports not only local use but also USA Hockey Regional and National events.Chesterfield and the region will greatly benefit from having a new facility in the Valley.
President, Missouri Hockey Inc.
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