WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (TBO.com) - One of the men who helped bring the Ice Sports Forum to Brandon announced a plan today to build Florida’s largest hockey and ice skating facility in Wesley Chapel.
Gordie Zimmermann, one-time general manager of the Brandon facility, unveiled the $20 million proposal to Pasco’s Tourist Development Council. The 150,000-square-foot sports facility would be built off Interstate 75 at the State Road 56 interchange and would have four full-sized rinks, including one Olympic-sized hockey rink.
“The tournament factor is a huge part of why we need four pads,” Zimmermann said. “We want to be able to attract teams from Canada. Their favorite place to be able to host Olympic events is in Florida.”
The larger, Olympic-sized rink could accommodate other winter sports, such as speed skating and sled hockey, which is played in the Paralymics.
The TampaBay area has a thriving youth hockey market - including 17 area high school teams - as well as adult leagues and a growing figure skating community. But all those skaters must compete for limited ice time, Zimmermann said.