The University of Saskatchewan is getting a big boost to kick off their campaign to replace the “Dog House.”
The school announced Thursday morning that commerce and law graduate Merlis Belsher would be contributing $12.25 million to kick off the “Home Ice Campaign.”
“I wanted to make it happen and do whatever I could,” said Belsher, sporting a U of S Huskies jersey.
“I follow hockey and was aware of the state of Rutherford and from the start I wasn’t hesitant.”
The money will go towards the construction of an 1,830-seat twin-pad arena which would act as the home for both the men’s and women’s Huskies hockey teams. The arena is set to cost $41 million, expected to be collected mostly through donations to the fundraising campaign.
In honour of the massive donation, the new arena will be called “Merlis Belsher Place.”
— Ryan Brandt (@Ryan_Brandt) October 13, 2016
The Huskies currently play out of Rutherford Rink, nicknamed the “Dog House.” The arena was built in 1929 and has been upgraded several times.
“It has been clear for many years that Rutherford is beyond repair,” the university said in a statement.
The new facility will also feature a double gymnasium for basketball training, twelve dressing rooms, and a two-story lobby with views of both ice surfaces. The University is also partnering with Saskatoon minor hockey, providing more ice time to local kids.
“It has been going on for a couple of decades that we have hoped to make this kind of announcement,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff.
While it may be time for Huskies hockey to move on from Rutherford Rink, the shrine to local hockey carries a lot of history and memories.
“No more rust delays,” joked Huskies captain Kendal McFaull, who into his fourth year has played a fair share of games in the old rink.
“It’s something we have needed for a while we don’t have the facilities here to do homework and the rooms are pretty small so it is exciting.”
There is no timeline on the construction of the arena, so far $34-million has been raised with the university hopeing to raise the final $7 million from private donations.