Basingstoke Bison not icing next season.

Naturally, I am sure like most people. I knew this day would come. The rink in Basingstoke has been long overdue a revamp at the very least. So news that it probably wouldn’t be suitable for the Bison for next season doesn’t really come as a surprise. 

In today’s blog post, I wanted to try something a little different and try to shed some light on the situation over in Basingstoke. Looking at the past, the present and what the future may look like for the rink in Basingstoke.

The first most important consideration is the matter of ownership. The important thing to remember is that the rink at Basingstoke is part of a Leisure park. The ownership of the leisure park and its various facilities is slightly more complicated than it needs to be. The freehold (the land the rink is built on) is owned by Basingstoke and Deane Council for anyone who doesn’t know, they are an incredibly competent group.  The rink itself is owned by a third party listed on the ever reliable Wikipedia as “the Arena Group Ltd.” Then, making things even more complicated, Planet Ice simply operate the rink. Various articles which I will link at the bottom of the blog, show the constant battle between the council, owner and Planet Ice for who should pick up the bill for any necessary work. Sadly, this situation probably means the rink was doomed from the start.     

So the rink was built in 1988, the same year the Bison were formed. Albeit the Bison were terrifyingly called the Basingstoke Beavers at the time. During it’s heyday, home and away fans would plack the place out, reaching the 2000 spectator capacity regularly. Nowadays, structural issues mean that the capacity is probably less than half the advertised 2000.

I won’t go into the Bison history too much as there are plenty of resources out there to do so, but it’s probably fair to say Basingstoke has had a fair few financial issues culminating in Planet Ice stepping in to take over the team. 

The main issue the rink faces in a permafrost build up, this may seem silly as it is an ice rink. But the permafrost build up under the rink appears to be causing the structures on or around the ice to shift. If you have visited Basingstoke Ice rink, you’ve probably noticed the boards next to the condemned stands are not straight. It’s probably fair to say that the permafrost could be the issue there. I don’t know, I am not a structural engineer. This permafrost could also cause the freezing pipes under the rink to break, based on the owners, councils or Planet Ices refusal to spend money, it’s fair to suggest a broken pipe would be curtains for the rink anyway. 

I could probably go on more about the problems at the rink but I don’t have enough time. However the important thing to know is that the rink hasn’t been deemed suitable for Bison next season.

 

I should state that the Basingstoke Buffalo and the junior setups will continue, however it’s probably not a stretch to say that they will be affected in various ways, reduced ice time being the biggest factor. Sadly the knock on effect from reduced youth set ups, can damage youth prospects for years and years to come, this part is a particular worry for me. 

Currently the Bison statement claims that they will pull out of competition for next season, while works are underway to improve the rink. Sadly though, there have been no solid plans or statements regarding works from anyone connected to the ice rink. This is a worrying factor as we have had years of hot air, claiming that the required work was due to be started. Now that Bison have gone, I think that has removed some of the pressure of the owners, council and planet ice, and probably makes them less likely to do the repairs. Maybe, I am wrong, I hope I am wrong. But once gone, sometimes teams don’t come back. 

Plans for a whole revamp of the leisure park has been proposed by the idiots at the Basingstoke Council. With nearly £1 million been spent on consultancy fees, the plans are inching closer to completion with 3 or 4 swanky photo mock ups of what it will look like complete. I’d just like to suggest, and I know that this is for the leisure park as a whole. But nearly £1 million would have probably sorted the rink out. 

I think it is fair to suggest that nothing will happen, I hope that I am wrong, but Bison will either have to leave Basingstoke or finish playing all together. Which would a crying shame. 

As it probably evident here, I am a complete fool, I don’t know much at all. But I would like to know your opinions on the matter, so please let me know in the comments! 

Basingstoke Bison out for 2023/24 season

https://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/18819702.race-clock-ice-rink-repairs—potential-change-use-revealed/

https://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/18852223.ice-rink-explained-issues-responsible-happens-next/

https://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/23352139.basingstoke-council-spends-nearly-1m-leisure-park-consultants/

https://www.andoveradvertiser.co.uk/news/regional/basingstoke/18269120.situation-basingstokes-ice-rink-explained-campaigners-fear-future/

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