The Meridian Centre is a 5,300 seat arena in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, located at 1 IceDogs Way. The arena is the home of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League and the Niagara River Lions of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

Meridian Centre
Meridian Centre - Interior 2016.jpg
Location1 IceDogs Way
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2R 0B3
CoordinatesCoordinates: 43°09′20.94″N 79°14′39.20″W / 43.1558167°N 79.2442222°W / 43.1558167; -79.2442222
OwnerCity of St. Catharines
OperatorSMG Canada ULC
Capacity5,300 - Hockey
5,580 - Standing Room
6,000 - Concerts
4,030 - Basketball
Field size200' X 85'
Construction
OpenedOctober 11, 2014
Construction cost$50 million
($53.3 million in 2018 dollars[1])
ArchitectPBK Architects
General contractorBall-Rankin
Tenants
Niagara IceDogs (OHL) (2014–present)
Niagara River Lions (CEBL) (2015–present)
Niagara Lock Monsters (CLax) (2015–2016)

HistoryEdit

In December 2011, after years of debate, St. Catharines City Council voted 9–3 to approve the construction of a multi-use spectator facility with 4,500 to 5,300 seats, at a maximum cost of $50 million. The project was to be funded with $17 million from the civic project fund, $5 million in fundraising, $1 million from the federal gas tax fund.[2]

In October 2012, city councillors voted 11–2 to pay $45 million to Ball-Rankin Construction to build a new 4,500-seat facility, to be completed by September 2014.[3] Ball-Rankin donated a pair of 25-metre elevated walkways to connect the Centre to the City's downtown area on St. Paul Street, at a cost of two million dollars.[4]

Naming rightsEdit

Meridian Credit Union was given the naming rights of the facility in recognition of its $5.23 million contribution to the project. The name of the arena was announced in September 2013.[5]

St. Catharines Sports Hall of FameEdit

The St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1990 to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of both women and men, athletes and builders whom have significantly contributed to the development of sport in St. Catharines and went on to success at Provincial, National and/or International levels of competition.[6] Upon completion of the Meridian Centre, the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame was relocated to concourse level of the arena.

Arena informationEdit

The arena offers four main concession stands as well as multiple food carts and seat vendors. The IceDogs also run a retail store inside the Meridian Centre. The arena offers basic concession fare but also has other menu items not typically found. Beer and local wines can be found throughout the concourse.

SportsEdit

The primary tenant at the Meridian Centre is the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. The Niagara IceDogs won their first game at the Meridian Centre on October 16, 2014, against the Belleville Bulls by a score of 7–4 in front of a sellout crowd of 5,300, the largest attendance in franchise history. This record was later broken when standing room tickets were sold during the 2015–16 playoffs with an attendance of 5,580.

In 2015, the Meridian Centre welcomed a secondary tenant in the Niagara River Lions of the National Basketball League of Canada. The addition of the River Lions basketball court also allows for important Brock University men's and women's basketball games to be relocated to the larger venue of the Meridian Centre. The River Lions joined the Canadian Elite Basketball League in 2018.

The Meridian Centre hosted the 2016 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship in January 2016. The final, a 3–2 overtime victory for the United States over Canada, resulted in the largest hockey crowd in arena history at 5,516. Overall, the total tournament attendance of 34,523 surpassed the previous record of 16,855.[7]

On September 29, 2016, the Meridian Centre hosted a pre-season exhibition game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. After regulation and overtime, the game remained scoreless at 0-0. Matt Moulson would ultimately give the Sabres the 1-0 shoot-out win.[8]

The Meridian Centre hosted the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the annual Canadian women's curling championship, between February 16 and 26, 2017. Team Ontario, led by Rachel Homan, defeated Team Manitoba in the final by a score of 8-6. The overall attendance throughout the tournament was 56, 804.

In June 2018, the Meridian Centre hosted the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship.

Concerts and other eventsEdit

On October 21, 2014, St. Catharines' native band City and Colour performed as the headline act for the Centre's grand opening. The arena has also hosted such acts as John Mellencamp, The Tragically Hip, Chris De Burgh, Blue Rodeo, Tim Hicks, Old Dominion, Elton John, Daniel O' Donnell, Metric, Johnny Reid, Hedley and Death Cab For Cutie.[9][10]

They have also played host to Harlem Globetrotters basketball games, WWE NXT and Cirque du Soleil. Comedians such as Jeff Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld have also performed shows at the venue. Other guests who have made appearances include Theresa Caputo. The center has also held numerous cheerleading competitions, expos and skating shows.

With St. Catherines, Ontario being the long time childhood home of Neil Peart (September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) the late drummer and principle lyricist for the rock band Rush [11], the Meridian Centre is slated to be the site for 'A Night for Neil - The Neil Peart Memorial Celebration' planned for May 16, 2020 [12]. The event is being planned by family and friends of Neil Peart and also in part by OVERTIME ANGELS [13], a charitable organization that takes its inspiration from the kindness and generosity demonstrated by Neil Peart and the other members of Rush [14].  

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  2. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2011/12/05/council-says-yes-to-new-arena-in-historic-vote
  3. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2012/10/29/live-st-catharines-council-votes-on-spectator-facility
  4. ^ Bergsma, Melanie (May 12, 2014). "Pedestrian bridges going up in St. Catharines downtown". St. Catharines Standard. Sun Media. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  5. ^ http://www.meridiancu.ca/meridian/MeridianCentre/Pages/default.aspx
  6. ^ http://scshof.com/
  7. ^ http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2016/01/15/ot-heartbreak-for-canada
  8. ^ http://www.cp24.com/sports/toronto-maple-leafs-news/sabres-top-leafs-1-0-in-pre-season-play-on-moulson-shootout-goal-1.3095473
  9. ^ Jocsak, Julie (22 October 2014). "Dallas Green's historic homecoming". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  10. ^ Fraser, Don (6 October 2014). "Meridian Centre offers sneak peek of $50M facility". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  11. ^ "St. Catharines mulling over how to honour hometown Rush drummer Neil Peart".
  12. ^ "Overtime Angels A Night for Neil".
  13. ^ "A Night for Neil: Memorial concert for Rush drummer planned in St. Catharines".
  14. ^ "Overtime Angels Why Are We Here".

External linksEdit