After nearly two-years of planning, fundraising and construction “The Kettle” officially opened to the public Friday night inside the Niverville arena.

The name “Kettle” was chosen to describe the additional seating area and mezzanine in the northeast corner of the Community Resource and Recreation Centre arena, as the name refers to a flock of hawks that are seen swirling or circling in an area, hence, the Niverville Nighthawks fans.

Bryan Trottier, on the Board of Directors for the Niverville MJHL club says, it’s great to finally have this part of the project complete and tells us why it was a necessary addition to the arena.

“In spring 2022 we received a grant through the Manitoba Building Sustainable Communities Grant, while at the same time we were trying to get our So, we kind of put it (construction of the mezzanine) on hold for a year. We got approval from the MJHL to wait a year to get it going, and then last summer we ramped it up and put it out for tender and awarded it to Three-Way Builders.”

Trottier says they had to reduce the scope of the project because prices had really gone up in that year and a half. He says, in order to have an MJHL team in Niverville, the CRRC had to have a minimum of 1,000 seats but the arena was built with 750 spectator seats.

“So, we're right around that number. Actually, the upper space has capacity for 73 fans, and the lower space has 291. We did order all the chairs, so it's all loose seating with tables. We just didn't finish the full, for lack of a better term, mezzanine catwalk across the entire east side.”

Trottier says, although the original plans were to have the mezzanine continue across the eastside of the arena, they are going to put a pause on that, for now. He says there are more pressing areas to spend the money.

“We still have to build a dressing room for the guys, so, we have this project going and the dressing room will probably be our next infrastructure project.”

Niverville CRRC new mezzanine in the north-east corner of the arena.Niverville CRRC new mezzanine in the north-east corner of the arena.

Trottier adds, having the “Kettle” completed means more fans in the stands.

“We think it's going to mean more people and more fun at the game. The westside of the rink is more of a family-zone, while there’s loose seating, kind of a Bistro style with tables and chairs on the bottom, and the main floor bar with the Nighthawks draft on tap. Countertops run along the rink-boards on the bottom and the top. You can pull seats up and sit right on the glass on the main floor and get right in with the action and have a beer right there.”

Trottier continues, “Our ultimate goal was not for the one day a year where you have a sell-out crowd, it was more to entice people on a daily, weekly basis to visit the arena, like when they put their kids to bed or they're looking for something to do and they say, oh, maybe I'll just go to The Kettle and see if anyone's around and watch a game.”

"The Kettle" seen from the west side stands of the CRRC arena"The Kettle" seen from the west side stands of the CRRC arena during the Nighthawks game against OCN Blizzard Friday night.

Trottier says The Kettle isn’t just for Nighthawks games, but for any team playing at the CRRC. Though he notes others may not have access to the bar, as the Nighthawks organization holds the liquor license. 

The official opening and ribbon-cutting of the Kettle took place just before the Nighthawks game Friday night. The upper level was filled with Nighthawks billet families, Nighthawks Board members and dignitaries.