Bracknell Bees are on the search for a new home after John Nike Leisuresport announced earlier this week that its Binfield centre is to close permanently.
A statement published by the owners has said that March’s temporary closure, caused by the coronavirus, was to remain and all employees are being made redundant.
The Hive at John Nike Leisure Centre has been home to the Bees since 1987 and the club’s head coach Doug Sheppard was devastated and worried about the impact the closure will have on the community.
“There are going to be so many people affected from the outcome of the rink closure,” he told Wokingham.Today.
“With the growth of Bracknell in recent years the complex was a very popular place to go. It was getting busier and busier and has huge potential.
“More than 70 schools from the local area were participating in the school zone. Also, our community programme was gaining momentum and now more than 100 kids in the junior programme are really going to be missing out.
“It’s devastating for the local community as Bracknell needs to have an ice rink.”
After the 2019/20 NIHL season was suspended due to the coronavirus, Bracknell Bees has said that it is confident of finding a new home.
“In the meantime the Bees are looking at every option available to keep the club going,” continued Sheppard.
“We’re confident we’ll be in a position to announce a new location in a couple of weeks time.”
Nearly 12,000 people have now signed a petition aimed at saving the centre, launched by James Rayburn.
The page states: “As everyone knows John Nike Leisuresport complex are going to be making redundancies and potentially closing the rink permanently due to this.
“Please sign this petition to keep the rink open.
“This venue is used for a variety of events such as ice hockey, pantomimes, etc.”
The Bracknell Bees said that the closure is a “massive loss” to the wider community as they now begin their search for a new home before the ice autumn.hockey season commences in the