Ice arena-hockey team company acquires Newark rink

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An affiliate of Maryland-based Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.has acquired the Patriot Ice Center in Newark.

The Arena features one NHL-size ice rink and one Olympic-size ice rink, an athletic training gym, café, pro shop, and martial arts studio.

The arena is home to many young skaters and players in the area and, like many of Black Bear’s arenas, frequently hosts youth and adult hockey tournaments throughout the year. Black Bear was founded by CEO Murry Gunty in 2015.

“The Mid-Atlantic region is producing more and more talented skaters and youth players. Delaware is known for quality figure skating but many young players are passionate about hockey here as well,” said Gunty.“We are excited to add Patriot to our growing portfolio of east coast ice rinks.”

The Patriot Ice Center is the first acquisition for Black Bear in Delaware and 12th investment on the East Coast. Black Bear’s adjacent rinks include Ice World in northeastern Maryland and three facilities in the nearby suburban Philadelphia area: Revolution Ice Gardens, Bucks County Ice Sports Center and The Igloo at Mt. Laurel.

“We are excited to improve the facility and strengthen the skating and hockey programming at Patriot,” said Ryan Scott, vice president of Black Bear. “Our immediate priority is to structurally improve the ice surfaces to ensure the community has quality ice for the upcoming season and to renovate the building to enhance the customer experience going forward.”

Black Bear currently owns and operates 16 arenas across the United States with a total of 29 indoor ice rinks, two indoor turf fields, seven youth hockey clubs and four Junior “A” hockey franchises in the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League.

The ice complex was built in the mid-1990s. Formerly known as The Pond, the facility hosted hockey teams and at one time was used by Olympian and TV celebrity Johnny Weir. The facility was built at a time when Newark and the University of Delaware was an ice skating hub that trained Olympic athletes.

The facility has gone through ownership changes with the principals of Patriot acquiring the site and renaming the center in 2018, the Newark Post reported. Prior to that time, a former co-owner of the arena was convicted and sentenced on sexual abuse charges.

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