Skaters left in cold at Ice arena

Vycki and Dan Nicholson at the Fylde Coast Ice Arena
Vycki and Dan Nicholson at the Fylde Coast Ice Arena
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Skaters and hockey players have been frozen out for a few weeks after ice at an arena thawed out.

Bosses at the Fylde Coast Ice Arena have had to close the popular venue for around five weeks following an electrical fault in the chiller equipment.

The arena, based at the former TVR sports car factory at Bristol Avenue in Bispham, had to shut for a while last year after a problem with the ice.

Now bad luck has struck again with bosses hoping to get the parts they need for repairs in the coming days.

Dan Nicholson, who opened the arena in 2014 with partner Vycki Nicholson, said they were hoping to be open again at the start of June.

He said: “It is serious, similar to the problems we had last year. It is due to a failure in the plant. An electrical component in the controls for the chiller has failed and we are working hard to get a replacement.

“Last year we had to reinstate the ice and that meant we were closed for five weeks.

“We will have to complete the repairs and then reinstate the ice once more.

“It is slightly complicated because we have to put back the lines for the hockey teams but we are hoping to be back open in June but will post updates on our websites.

“In the meantime we are carrying out needed maintenance and refurbishment of the arena accommodations and equipment.”

He said once the chiller was fixed the ice bed had to be put down again which could take three weeks in itself.

The ice is three and a half inches thick and has to be put down in layers using a sprayer to get the right consistency of ice for the users.

The arena, which is open six days a week, has become popular with a variety of users due to its large size.

It has been the home of the Fylde Coast Phantoms hockey teams and has been used at times by professional outfits such as Manchester Phoenix. It has also been used by figure skaters, for lessons and for the general public.

It had a controversial start when a planning application to convert the former car factory building into a ice rink was opposed by the then owners of the Cleveleys Jubilee ice rink.

But local skaters staged a campaign of support for the Bispham rink and it was eventually granted planning permission by Blackpool Council.

The Cleveleys rink has since been converted into a children’s play area called Knuckleheads, leaving the only other rink at the Pleasure Beach Ice Arena.

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