Edinburgh's Murrayfield ice rink to convert to a roller arena over summer months

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Future plans could also see the arena used as a venue for boxing, concerts, gigs and Edinburgh Festival shows.

Murrayfield ice rink has announced it will convert into a roller arena from the end of May just months after it reopened following the pandemic.

The roller arena will operate from May for four months with the ice expected to return in September. Since reopening in October 2022, the Olympic sized arena which is used by public and professional and recreational ice hockey teams has been undergoing refurbishment, after a closure which lasted more than two years.

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Bosses confirmed that soaring energy costs played a major part in the decision which will see the ice rink operate for around eight months every year. Under plans to make the venue more sustainable it could also be used as a venue for boxing, concerts, gigs and festival shows.

Murrayfield Ice Arena
Photo: Lisa FergusonMurrayfield Ice Arena
Photo: Lisa Ferguson
Murrayfield Ice Arena Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Some have welcomed the move to a roller arena while others have expressed frustration and claimed they will be forced to put their blades on ice, due to a lack of similar facilities in and around Edinburgh.

Responding to the news one woman said: "This is a fab idea - it will be well used over the summer. It allows the hockey kids to train whilst having fun and meeting up whilst allowing the skaters to rest and pull on the roller blades for a bit. I would imagine this would be popular for all ages. Make it like coasters roller disco back in the 1980s in Edinburgh.”

But others said the temporary conversion will be a big blow to figure skaters. One said: "So frustrating to have finally stopped having to make a 90 mile round trip barely a handful of months ago to get some ice time and now you're not even keeping the ice. Honestly don't see what the point in coming every week is if I'm constantly going to be making one step forwards two steps back, I have no interest in roller when there's already plenty of places in Edinburgh to do it or just outdoors for free. Figure skaters in the city are back to having nowhere to go.”

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The building itself has been upgraded in many areas as part of ongoing refurbishment, including a refurbished bar, cafe and a face lift to the front of the building.

Concerns had been expressed over the future of the rink after it was revealed major work was needed to replace the 30-year-old ice pads following a major brine leak. The rink has significant overheads and has been hit with additional costs to comply with updated operational guidelines which require a number of changes to the building.

A spokesperson for Murrayfield Ice Arena said: "From the outset of Murrayfield Ice Arena taking a lease to restore ice facilities for the City of Edinburgh it was apparent that the provision of ice would not be viable during the summer months. The increase in energy prices played a major part in this decision. The goal of the company is to provide a home for ice users around 8 months a year for the City and the surrounding areas on a long term basis and the decision to lift the ice makes the operation a more viable option to achieve that goal.

“We will have ice back down early September for the start of the traditional 'ice season' for skaters and the Edinburgh Capitals Ice Hockey season. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all users of the Ice Arena for their support in helping Murrayfield to continue to grow, thrive and deliver improved facilities for its users. The building itself has been upgraded in many areas, including a refurbished bar, cafe and a face lift to the front of the building along with many behind the scenes improvements as part of an overall ongoing upgrade to the facility. The cafe is open to non ice skating members of the public and we continue to try to be an important part of the local community.

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“This summer gives the Arena an chance to diversify and grow opportunities to the roller skating community, roller hockey, ball hockey, fitness groups as well as a potential venue for boxing, concerts, gigs and Edinburgh Festival shows. The bar is also available for functions and events. These activities will help sustain and deliver our ambition to continue to grow and support the Ice skating community in the winter season along with continued improvements to the facility.”