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Ice Sports Centre to produce more Olympic champions

30 October 2008

Construction will begin early next year on a National Ice Sports Centre in Melbourne which AOC President John Coates says will make Australia a world power in ice sports.

“The facility will have a dramatic impact on our Olympic Winter sports with athletes able to train fulltime in a world class facility, it is wonderful news” Coates said.

“We have won Olympic medals in short track speed skating, notably Steven Bradbury’s gold in 2002, and this initiative will encourage more young Australians to get involved in speed skating, ice dancing, hockey and curling”.

The Victorian Sport and Recreation Minister James Merlino said the Brumby Government would contribute $10 million towards the National Ice Sports Centre, which will be the first of its kind in Australia.

“The $58 million National Ice Sports Centre will be a world-class facility and complement Victoria’s elite network of sporting facilities and precincts that help make Melbourne the best sporting events city in the world,’’ Mr Merlino said.

“The National Ice Sports Centre will feature two rinks with spectator seating and be equipped to host national and international ice hockey, ice skating, curling and speed skating events.

“The Centre will also be the home of the Olympic Winter Institute and the national base for Olympic training, helping to support our elite athletes training to compete on the world stage. It will be open to the general public, making it a wonderful addition to the other excellent entertainment options on offer at Docklands.”

Mr Merlino also said the National Ice Sports Centre was a welcome investment in Victoria’s tourism and sporting industries, particularly in the current economic climate.

“The Brumby Government is working to support and drive investment in Victoria and the National Ice Sports Centre will be a significant benefit to the state economy,’’ he said.

Olympic Winter Institute of Australia Chairman Geoff Henke has led the campaign to get the facility off the ground.

“It’s a brilliant concept that gives new life to the long tradition of ice sports in Melbourne. The National Ice Sports Centre will become the official headquarters of the Olympic Winter Institute, and the cornerstone of national excellence, producing future Olympic champions,” Mr Henke said.

Coates paid tribute to Henke’s vision.

“Geoff has been the driving force behind this project, he deserves special recognition for his determination to see the Ice Centre become a reality”.

AOC

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