The new national ice sports arena in Santry, Dublin may have only opened a few months ago but it is already proving to be a hit. Now the man behind the rink wants to bring professional ice hockey to the building by entering a team in the Elite League.
Mark Bowes opened the NHL sized rink in a former cold store in Dublin with the backing of all the Irish ice sports governing bodies. But now with amateur sides chomping at the bit to get into the facility and a new Irish league due to start in the autumn, Bowes is already turning his attention to 2013 and icing a team in the EIHL.
It is not the first time that a side from southern Ireland has been mooted for participation in the EIHL. When the Elite League was formed in 2003 there were suggestions of a Dublin team. However previous attempts to house a new ice rink in the Irish capital failed and the ice rink at Dundalk closed down as well.
It would not be the first time though that a side from the Irish republic has taken part in the British league system. In the mid 2000’s successful Irish sides the Dundalk Bulls and Latvian Hawks played in a Celtic League against some of their Scottish counterparts.
And the timing could be perfect for an Irish Elite League side. The EIHL’s controversial conference system would allow for additional sides and thanks to the rink the buzz is back in Irish ice sports. As home grown Irish athletes no longer need to travel to Belfast for ice time it appears Bowes also believes the time is right for a top flight Irish side.