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Icehouse given much-needed funding injection

By Ellen Blake

Docklands’ O’Brien Icehouse has received $2 million worth of support from the Victorian Government.

The Icehouse houses two Olympic-sized ice rinks and is viewed as Australia’s premier ice sports and recreation centre.

Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaala Pulford said the cash injection to the venue would support those looking to pursue sporting excellence, as well as Victorians looking for a winter activity.

“The O’Brien Icehouse is important on many levels – as place for recreation and events, as a stadium for competition and as a training venue for our top Winter Olympic athletes,” Ms Pulford said.

“It will bring more people to Docklands, helping businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

The Icehouse attracts more than 200,000 visitors per year and brings 100 events to Melbourne each year, including semi-professional ice hockey matches featuring Australian Ice Hockey League teams Melbourne Ice and Melbourne Mustangs, and national and international events and competitions.

The Icehouse is currently acting as the training base for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics hopefuls, including figure skaters Holly Harris and Jason Chan, curling champion Dean Hewitt and a junior speed skating team.

O’Brien Icehouse executive director Athol Hodgetts said the support would ensure “the long-term future of ice sports in Victoria.”

“The Icehouse can continue to produce future Olympians and world champions at one of the best facilities of its type in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

Mr Hodgetts previously told the Herald Sun earlier this year that the COVID pandemic had a “huge cost” on the Icehouse’s operations and threatened its viability.

The $2 million boost now means the popular School and Community Discount program, which provides a discount on the cost of tickets for school and community groups, will be reinstated.

The O’Brien Icehouse has locked in administration, training and high-performance facilities for the next six years, including ice skating, figure skating, ice hockey, speed-skating and curling.

O’Brien Icehouse will look ahead to secure new national and international event such as Disney On Ice •

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