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The London Ice House was an arena in London, Ontario, Canada. It was originally built in 1963 and was home to the London Knights ice hockey team from 1965 to 2002. The design was influenced by the first level of the Boston Garden, and had a capacity of approximately 5,000. The arena was originally named Treasure Island Gardens as the building was a part of the Treasure Island Plaza mall complex located in south London. For a time, the arena also included a second ice pad.[1]

London Ice House
Former namesTreasure Island Gardens, London Gardens
Location4380 Wellington Road South, London, ON, N6E 3A2
OwnerLondon Knights Hockey Club
Capacity5,000 (approx.)
Surface190' X 85'
Construction
Broke ground1960
Opened1963
Renovated1994
Closed2002
Tenants
London Knights 1965-2002
London Nationals Jr. B 1976-2001
London Wildcats (CoHL) 1994-95

In 1994, the London Knights and the building were purchased by new owner Doug Tarry, who renamed building as the London Ice House.[1] Tarry upgraded the building in 1994, including replacing the seats on the sides and adding more emergency exits to bring the building up to the fire code. In the years following the refurbishment, Tarry allowed the building to deteriorate as part of his lobbying the city for a new arena, given that it was the only arena in the OHL without municipal assistance, and was charged taxes in excess of $125,000 per year by 1999. The London Knights underwent a renaissance after being purchased by Dale and Mark Hunter in a deal brokered by George Georgopoulos, who was negotiating with the City for a multi-purpose entertainment centre and arena in Downtown London.

The team left the Gardens/Ice House after the 2001-02 season and relocated to the newly built John Labatt Centre in Downtown London.

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ConcertsEdit

The Rolling Stones played at the arena on April 26, 1965, but due to rioting in the audience, the show was shut down by police after only 15 minutes. One of the promoters of the concert was soon-to-be NHL player Pat Quinn, who was then playing minor pro.[2]

Another notable event occurred at the Ice House in February 1968, when singer Johnny Cash proposed onstage to his longtime partner, June Carter Cash, during a concert.[3]

After hockeyEdit

After the Ice House's closure it was purchased by investors who turned it into a motocross facility called the London Motoplex; however, the investment group were not making payments during their ownership.[4] The ownership of the building returned to the Hunter brothers afterward. Most of the old seats and all of the hockey memorabilia was sold at auction. The 1994-era seats were purchased by the Windsor Spitfires organization, who installed them at the Windsor Arena.[5]

After 2004, a group of investors (made up of business, community, and government investment) converted the former hockey arena and motocross track into an indoor cycling track, called the Forest City Velodrome. The Forest City Velodrome Association (a non-profit organization) operates the races, clinics, and other activities at the track.[6]

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