With the Niverville Nighthawks well into their 2nd season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, their Board of Directors is working towards completing a requirement for owning an MJHL team, which is that the CRRC arena have a minimum of 1,000 seats.
As the inaugural Nighthawks season kicked off, the Niverville Community Resource and Rec Centre (CRRC) arena seating was enough for 750 spectators, with room to expand. That expansion is now underway with the construction in the north-east corner of the CRRC for another 350 seats.
Bryan Trottier, a member of the Nighthawks Board, volunteer chair and co-chair for Infrastructure, explains what is being built.
“We are building kind of a funky Bistro-style bar with some extra seating. So, all the seating is loose chairs with Bistro tables and there'll be some bar-tops along the boards where people can sit and enjoy the game in kind of a different atmosphere.”
Trottier explains the reasoning behind the Bistro-style seating area,
“Well, the original idea, the brainchild of it all, was that we thought about drawing people on cold winter nights when they had nothing else to do, and we thought by adding Bistro tables. What we did notice after COVID, that our games were a real social event for families, and for people just coming out to meet new people and see faces again. And we thought this would be a real way to capitalize on that.”
Trottier notes they had first hoped to add seats along the entire eastside however, “with all the increases in construction costs, we had to scale down a little bit.”
He says the Nighthawks organization has purchased 291 seats, however if they complete the whole project, they expect to add about 350. Trottier says, it was always in the plans to add the seating, now was just the right time to get it done.
Trottier says construction has been underway for about a month and a half now. “We're expecting it to be done, rather I think it's supposed to be done before the end of the year, if all goes well.”
As for the addition of the Bistro-style bar seating, Trottier explains that the CRRC is fully licensed, and fans can already purchase liquor during a game.
“Well, right now we have 2 remote bars in the facility, and this (new Bistro) will be our permanent bar. So, we'll have our Nighthawks beer on tap, there's some bar tables, there's going to be a second story right above the bar that you can watch the game come that comes within 41 inches of the glass so, that’s going to be quite a unique experience for the patrons to watch the game.”
Trottier says, while the additional seating is a requirement from the MJHL, the Nighthawks organization is excited about the new area for another reason.
“While we've never hit full capacity yet, besides opening night, we're always looking for more sales and to attract more people and we thought this would be an interesting way to attract more people, have more seats and kind of a little the Bistro style area where you can hang out and grab a beer with your buddies.”
The new seating area will be paid for with a $259,032 grant from the 2022 Manitoba Building Sustainable Communities Fund.
The next Nighthawks game is on Wednesday, November 15th against the Neepawa Titans. Puck-drop is at 7pm at the CRRC arena.
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