Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre

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Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre

The RBC Centre is a 5,500-capacity (4,118-seated) multi-purpose arena in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. It is located on the campus of Lambton College and opened in September 1998. The RBC Center is currently home to the Sarnia Sting OHL ice hockey team. And the Sarnia Legionnaires Jr. 'B' hockey club holds its training camp at the facility before moving over to the old Sarnia Arena for its regular schedule. Originally known as the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, the Royal Bank Of Canada took over sponsorship of the Arena in October 2009, the arena then became known as the RBC Centre.


Artists such as Crash Test Dummies, Blue Man Group and Bryan Adams have played there, and it has also hosted Stars on Ice.


The arena features two NHL-sized ice pads, 43 luxury suites, and an in-house, full-service restaurant.


History

In 1994, the Newmarket Royals was bought by the Ciccarelli brothers and moved to Sarnia, where they were renamed the Sarnia Sting. Though the Sting played their first three seasons at the Sarnia Arena, their relocation was conditional on a new arena being built by the city. The new arena would also become an issue in the November 1994 municipal elections.


There were five sites up for consideration:


  • The former CNR railway lands on the banks of the St. Clair River. Proponents argued that placing the new arena here would revitalize Sarnia's declining waterfront. CNR maintained that they would restore the grounds before selling it for development. However, opponents pointed out that the site is not located close to major highways or hotels. More importantly, it was adjacent to the Imperial Oil plant in Chemical Valley and company officials warned that they would be unable to evacuate the arena if an accident occurred.

  • A vacant park, just next to CNR lands, bounded by Front Street, Christina Street, and Devine Street. Though considered a separate site, some suggested that it could be combined with the CNR lands for future expansion.

  • The former Holmes Foundry site, bounded by North Christina Street and Exmouth Street. This was considered the best location, since it was close to the Blue Water Bridge border crossing, Highway 402, and the nearby Venetian Boulevard had several hotels (Holiday Inn, Best Western Guildwood Inn), with another hotel (Days Inn) and the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club on Christina Street. However, this was located in the village of Point Edward and many Sarnians, for political reasons, were opposed to building their arena there. (It was considered a lengthy and complicated process for Sarnia to annex the land from Point Edward.)

  • Lotte Neeley Park, on the northeast corner of the Highway 40-Highway 7 interchange (Highway 7 has since been downloaded to municipal authorities and renamed London Line 22). It has the advantage of being accessible to the aforementioned routes, Highway 402, and Sarnia Airport. In addition, there are plenty of motels and restaurants on Highway 7, which was known as the "Golden Mile" prior to being largely bypassed by Highway 402.

  • Lambton College, where the arena could take advantage of vacant parking lots. The proposed arena would be close to the Canterbury Inn hotel (now Lambton Inn), and shopping establishments on Murphy Road and Exmouth Road-namely big box stores and Lambton Mall. It is also close to Highway 402 and Highway 40, and is a short distance from the Highway 7 motels and restaurants.

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