Kingsbridge National Ice Center closer to reality

Bauer invests $4 million in Armory

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Here’s a Kingsbridge Armory cash infusion that makes a lot of sense.

A leading ice hockey gear manufacturer has chipped in $4 million toward the Kingsbridge National Ice Center project, the developers announced Monday, August 18.

Bauer Hockey, a company that makes more hockey equipment than you can shake a stick at, has invested $4 million toward converting the Armory into the world’s largest ice sports center.

Messier: ‘great day for hockey’

The company’s investment is the second chunk of a recent $30 million cash boost that the ice center’s developers, KNIC, have made public. The first, and largest, part of that investment in the $350 million complex came from the Detroit-based Kresge Foundation, which threw in $10 million.

Though KNIC has yet to sign an official lease with the city or begin construction on the ice center, the center’s head and former New York Rangers hockey star Mark Messier crowed that the investment is another step closer to “icing” the project’s success.

“The partnership with Bauer Hockey only strengthens our commitment to make the Kingsbridge National Ice Center one of the nation’s top facilities and revitalize the Kingsbridge neighborho­od,” Messier said in a statement. “It really is a great day for all of us who love hockey and love what is about to unfold here in the Bronx.”

Plans for the ice center call for nine full-size rinks, a 5,000-seat arena, a 50,000 square foot community center and a health and training facility.

Recruiting Bronx skaters

The Ontario-based company — which claims to be the first to sell a hockey skate with a blade attached to the boot — hopes the Armory’s conversion into a hockey destination will help recruit more local players to embrace the sport.

“We are all committed to growing the sport of hockey and creating access to the sport that is approachable, accessible, affordable, and, most of all, fun,” said Kevin Davis, chief executive officer of Bauer’s parent company Performance Sports Group, in a statement.

Part of the community benefits agreement KNIC signed was setting aside time to allow local community groups and public schools access to the ice rinks.

The CBA also includes the developers paying all workers a “living wage”, funding the 50,000 square foot communuity center with $8 million of their own money, and investing one percent of the complex’s annual revenue into community development programs.

The City Council approved the ice center plan 48-1 in the waning weeks of the Mayor Bloomberg administration.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
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