December 22, 2017 For Immediate Release
Ice Rink Returning to the Lancerlot Sports Complex
Vinton, VA – Plans were unveiled in Vinton earlier today that deliver a second full sheet of ice to Virginia’s Blue Ridge, as Penalty Box Partners LLC confirmed that they have purchased the Lancerlot Sports Complex. The previous owner of the Lancerlot, Henry Brabham is credited as the founder of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and a 2008 inaugural member of the ECHL Hall of Fame. The Lancerlot itself was previously home to the ECHL Virginia Lancers as well as the Roanoke Valley Rebels.
“The effort to establish additional ice in Virginia’s Blue Ridge has been a collective effort of local hockey and ice sport enthusiasts for several years,” stated Jason Pollard, Managing Partner, Penalty Box Partners, LLC. “The Lancerlot Sports Complex has a great deal of history and connection to ice hockey in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and our group is thrilled to be able to return ice to this facility in our effort to grow ice sports. All of our partners in this venture are committed to the community and have a true love and affiliation with ice hockey and ice sports. Penalty Box Partners maintains its’ local ties to the community as players, parents of players, fans of hockey and ice sports as well as actively living and working in the community.”
In recent years, the Lancerlot Sports Complex has primarily operated as a membership-based fitness center, equipped with exercise and weight training equipment, several basketball and racquetball courts, a walking track, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
The new owners plan to maintain the existing memberships and operations of the fitness center and swimming pools, although they are planning to modernize some of the fitness and exercise equipment and reallocate various interior spaces to increase overall efficiency and function of the building. Penalty Box Partners intends to maintain the current staff levels at the Lancerlot as well as add full and part time employees to support the ice rink.
Penalty Box Partners have contracted with Balzer and Associates and Lionberger Construction, both Roanoke based firms, to handle the design and construction of the $2 million dollar investment that will restore a full sheet of ice to one side of the facility that previously held several combination basketball and tennis courts. Construction is expected to begin by February and the owners expect the ice to be ready for community use in the fall of 2018.
The financing of the complex was made possible through Freedom First Credit Union. “This project lent itself perfectly with our mission of helping communities thrive. The Lancerlot has an amazing history and we are happy to be a part of bringing ice hockey back to Vinton.” stated Freedom First President/CEO Paul Phillips.
The Lancerlot’s addition of a second sheet of ice in Virginia’s Blue Ridge will provide an additional practice location for Roanoke’s professional hockey team, the Rail Yard Dawgs, as well as serve as a primary practice and game location for several local collegiate club hockey teams and offer the region the ability to host hockey tournaments and skating competitions. The facility will also be reestablished as a base of operations for Valley Youth Hockey Association as well as the RVAHA and the RNCHL, both adult hockey associations. The second sheet of ice will also provide additional opportunities for adult recreational hockey, public ice skating and recreational figure skating.
“We have a great partnership with Berglund Center and are so very appreciative of the facility and what they do to support hockey in Virginia’s Blue Ridge”, stated Bob McGinn, Majority Owner Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. “The availability of a second sheet of ice within the region is critical to the success of the franchise and the growth of the sport at the youth level”.
Chris Arnold, General Manager of Virginia Tech Hockey, stated “The VT Hockey Team is extremely excited about the potential for year-round ice and the ability to bid tournaments as a result of the additional sheet of ice”.
This project is the latest in a series of positive economic development announcements made in the Town of Vinton, following the recent completion of a downtown revitalization project, the opening of the Glade Creek Greenway and the opening of RE Cook Loft Apartments in 2017. Additional redevelopment projects slated for 2018 include the much-anticipated opening of the Vinton Macado’s Restaurant and the additional apartments under construction at the former William Byrd High School.
“The news of this private investment project coming together in Vinton is very exciting for our citizens and the Valley as a whole, stated Brad Grose, Town of Vinton Mayor. “The positive momentum and resurgence that our community is experiencing is a culmination of the efforts of many and we are truly blessed in many ways. I would also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the contributions of the Brabham family for their many years of operating the Lancerlot within our community. The Lancerlot is a fixture in Vinton, and we are very thankful that its positive legacy will carry on for many more years to come”.