Los Angeles Kings team with ASEC to become new operators of Pickwick ice rink


The Los Angeles Kings and the operator of its practice facility are looking to breathe new life into the aging ice rink at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, and they’re planning to spend $1 million on improvements, according to a statement.

The two-time Stanley Cup-winning hockey team announced on Thursday the organization will be working with American Sports Entertainment Co., or ASEC, to become the new operators of the ice facility at Pickwick, which has been in dire need of repairs.

Ron Stavert, president and chief executive of Pickwick Gardens, 1001 W. Riverside Drive, said Friday the Kings and ASEC have entered into a 10-year lease to oversee operations of the ice rink.

He added the bowling alley, conference halls and food concessions will still be operated and managed by Pickwick.

As of Thursday, the rink was renamed the LA Kings Ice at Pickwick Gardens and will undergo a physical rebranding sometime in June.

ASEC, which operates the practice facilities for the Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Galaxy, will also be undertaking the improvement project during the summer.

“We are excited to acquire the Pickwick ice-facility business as we continue to invest in growing the game of hockey in Southern California,” said Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president, in the statement.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ron [Stavert] to build upon Pickwick’s strong youth and adult hockey tradition, including being home to the successful California Golden Bears youth hockey club,” he added.

ASEC will take over operations of the facility in January.

Stavert, whose family has owned and operated Pickwick since 1955, said talks with the Kings and ASEC have been going on for a few years, even before Pickwick was talking with Shea Properties to possibly redevelop the roughly 9-acre site into housing.

Plans with the development company fizzled last year after the Burbank City Council denied a different developer’s preapplication to submit a proposal to build single-family homes in the city’s Rancho district, where Pickwick is located.

Though plans to convert Pickwick into housing were dashed, Stavert said the Kings and ASEC remained interested in partnering with him to turn around the weathered ice rink.

“The ice rink is our Achilles’ heel in terms of energy cost and the age of the ice-making system,” Stavert said. “We hope that this is a long-term partnership. They’re going to invest some money into renovations, and we hope it grows and grows.”

Understanding that rezoning his property was unlikely, Stavert said his partnership with the Kings and ASEC was the right call for his business and the community.

“It’s the most logical and makes the most sense with the zoning that we have,” he said. “It’s a long-term strategic move, and we’re all convinced that it’s going to be profitable for both entities.”

Twitter: @acocarpio