Sleeman Centre
Sleeman Centre.JPG
Location 50 Woolwich St, Guelph, ON N1H 3V1
Broke ground November 1998
Opened 2000
Owner City of Guelph
Construction cost $21 million
Architect PBK Architects
Tenants Guelph Storm (2000-Present)
Capacity Hockey 5,100 (includes seated)
Concerts 6,500

The Sleeman Centre (formerly the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre) is a 5,100 seat multi-purpose facility in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The Sleeman Centre has hosted concerts, sporting and family events as well as trade shows and conferences. The arena hosted the 2002 Memorial Cup.

History[edit | edit source]

The Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre was built in 2000 at a cost of $21 million dollars. A new arena for Guelph had been in discussion for well over a decade by Guelph City Council. The owners of the Guelph Platers, the OHL team at Guelph Memorial Gardens at the time, decided to move to Owen Sound in 1989, one of the reasons stated was the lack of a new arena.

Serious talks of a new arena for the Guelph Storm, who moved from Hamilton in 1991 and played out of the cramped Guelph Memorial Gardens, did not get started until the mid to late 1990s after the Guelph Storm's failed attempt to host the Memorial Cup.

Finding a suitable location, as well as the cost, was debated for many years. Many sites had been looked at including the Memorial Gardens site, the Fountain Street parking lot, and in the west end of the city where there was plans to build a new recreation and community complex.

When the Eaton's store at the Guelph Eaton Centre closed down, the city investigated the potential of locating the arena where the now empty store stood. To acquire the property, the city had to purchase the entire mall from ING Barings for $1.7 million.

The 5,000-seat arena was then built on the site of the former Eaton's store after the purchase of the mall in 1998 and demolition of the back section where the Eaton's store once stood.

By 2009, Guelph's junior B team, the Guelph Hurricanes (formerly known as the Guelph Dominators) officially moved to the Sleeman Centre for their regular season home games.

In 2009, the City of Guelph announced plans to upgrade the Sleeman Centre starting Spring 2010. This upgrade consists of adding a video score clock to the arena that has 4 video replay screens as well as two LED rings at the top and bottom of the scoreboard.

Private-Public Partnership[edit | edit source]

A private-public partnership was hailed as a great deal to building the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre in 1998 because it stipulated that the city would not be liable for private partners operating losses, nor the senior loan. The city entered a P3 agreement with Nustadia in 1998 to build and operate the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre for 30 years.

The city contributed half of the cost of the project and also guaranteed a $9-million loan for capital costs, which was to be paid back by Nustadia.

However, in 2001, the city of Guelph had to take over the $10 million "senior" loan for the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre, plus the $9.5 million "subordinated" loan the city was already paying due to Nustadia failing to make a June 1 quarterly payment of $181,250. Guelph taxpayers had to pay $3 million over the a four year span to make Nustadia's payments on its bank loan for the downtown arena.

Nustadia said difficulties to making payments were attributed to a number of factors, including the failure to generate anticipated restaurant and food court revenue and lower-than-projected ticket sales from Guelph Storm hockey games. Nustadia expected 3,500 people per game but the average was closer to 2,800 in 2000/2001.

The four-year reprieve granted by Guelph City Council was recommended so that Nustadia's fortunes can be tested under ideal conditions. Nustadia was to repay the money but a clause in the agreement between the city and the developer gave either side the ability to walk away with no financial obligations to the other. That deal expired on June 30, 2005 which opened the door for Nustadia to walk away.

In 2005, after the four year reprieve, the city took over ownership of the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre because Nustadia Developments Inc. decided to walk away from the downtown facility, completing a controversial transaction that has been expected for a few months.

The deal at the time transferred the ownership from Guelph Centre Partners, a division of Nustadia that was managing the arena, to the city, and left Guelph taxpayers on the hook for nearly $4 million in unanticipated debt plus the $9-million loan previously guaranteed by the city.

Coming this August 19th - 24th Guelph Regals Jr B and the Sleeman Centre are set to host the 2008 Founders Cup Tournament, The tournament is ready for the nations best teams to come together to compete for the national Championship

Arena Name[edit | edit source]

Exterior of the Sleeman Centre as seen from Woolwich St.

In June 2007, Sleeman Breweries and the City of Guelph finalized a $1.2 million sponsorship deal that gives the beer company exclusive naming rights to the Guelph Sports & Entertainment Centre until 2020. The selling of the naming rights to the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre was actively pursued after the city took over the arena in 2005.

Layout[edit | edit source]

In the main arena the seats are blue, with private suites located one level above the main seating area. The club seats are behind the player benches. There is also a restaurant behind the club seats as well as a 200 level VIP section on the same level of the private boxes. The arena has a standard four-sided scoreboard which is blue to go with the arena theme colour. The concourse is wide and horseshoe shaped, as fans have to either exit to Old Quebec Street food court or go through the restaurant. Fans can walk all the way around the arena in a circle.

External links[edit | edit source]

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