Patria-areena (also names Ritarihalli, Rinkelinmäen jäähalli and Hämeenlinnan jäähalli are used) is an arena in Rinkelinmäki, Hämeenlinna, Finland. It is primarily used for ice hockey, and is the home arena of the SM-liiga team HPK. It opened in 1979 and holds 5,000 people. The arena manager of the arena is Jorma Hassinen.
History[edit | edit source]
In year 1963, an artificial skating rink was built in Rinkelinmäki. It was roofed after it switched over to city property in year 1979, after which it has been called arena. The arena project got started around year 1976 because of pressure from HPK. This led to the formation of a committee that was led by HPK chairman, bank manager Seppo Nenonen. The starting point was not good because of city attitude. The committee made a property plan based on its research well knowing that the project's expenses needed to be in the minimum for it to succeed – and success still wasn't certain. All extra space had to be cut out: no break rooms, no hotdog sale and only namely seats. The most important thing was, that some roofing would be obtained. This was a situation, that some say the current actives have totally forgotten when moaning and complaining publicly about the results of the time.
The arena was planned by the city architectural department in the lead of city architect Heikki Aitola. The planners of the subsequent extension phases have been mostly building architect Seppo Ilmarinen from the city architectural department and his son, architect Petri Ilmarinen.
Hämeenlinnan Jäähalli Oy, the company managing the arena, was founded on February 3, 1992. On the same year a practice arena was finished and on 1996 the arena was extended based on the new requirements by SM-liiga. These requirements stated, that a league arena must hold at least 5,000 people. At the same time ownership of the arena was switched to the company.
At 2002 a two-track ice exercise center was finished. As a tribute to the ten years of the arena company the arena was renamed as Ritarihalli.
The arena is the venue for the 2009 Women's World Ice Hockey Championships, with matches being held both in the main and practice rinks.