Hundreds laced up their skates and took to the ice on Wednesday at the opening of a 280,000-square-foot ice skating facility at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.
The vast complex — with four sheets of ice — is considered the largest in California, said Eddie Hawkins, general manager of Great Park Ice and FivePoint Arena.
Two of the ice arenas were opened during the soft launch. The other two, which includes an Olympic-sized sheet, are slated to open later this month. Three of the rinks seat 500, and the FivePoint arena, which opened Wednesday, seats 2,500.
Hawkins said the rink’s restaurant, Anaheim Duck’s team store and pro shop do not have a firm opening date yet.
Construction began on the site in February 2016.
The about $110-million facility signals a growing interest in ice skating and hockey in Southern California.
“This will help meet the growing ice demands of the region,” Hawkins said.
Orange County has other ice complexes in Anaheim, Westminster and Yorba Linda, courtesy of the Duck’s Rinks program. But, none offer as much as the Great Park facility.
Hawkins said the rink will generally be open from 5 a.m. to midnight and will offer public skates every day once it is fully operational.
The Ducks will eventually use the rink as a practice facility along with Anaheim Ice, though Hawkins didn’t have a date on when the team would move in. The team will have its own locker room with a weight room, kitchen and sauna. There will be offices available for team staff.