Leading Swiss ice hockey club SC Bern, 16 time and current national champion, might be getting a new home stadium. The club’s 17’031 seat PostFinance Arena in Bern is Switzerland’s largest indoor ice rink and one of the largest ice rinks in Europe. Additionally to real ice, it’s also home to several GreenIce rinks, which the team uses year-round for their endurance training and shooting practice.
Besides being SC Bern’s home arena since 1967, the PostFinance Arena has hosted numerous events such as the world championships of ice hockey 2009, European figure skating championships 2011, and the European championships of gymnastics 2016. Additionally, it is used for curling, ice shows, ball sports (basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis and more), motocross racing, gymnastics, kart racing, horse shows (dressage and showjumping), and boxing (WBC fight of 12 December 2009: Vitali Klitschko vs. Kevin Johnson).
SC Bern’s arena holds Europe’s largest ice hockey audience with more than 16’000 spectators per game on average.
Now, it soon might be entirely rebuilt. Chairman of the Board of Directors Beat Brechbühl said: “The SC Bern Board of Directors is considering whether the stadium needs to be renovated or newly built.”
While there hasn’t been an update on the condition of the arena, Der Bund reports that its roof needs to be refurbished and the building shell sealed.
Their source also states that the new stadium would be unified with the new Bernexpo event hall.
“The SCB is also interested in a multifunctional hall with mixed use of catering, events or even living”, Brechbühl said.
“The ice hockey club hasn’t made a proposal to us yet,” said Franziska von Weissenfluh, Bernexpo’s chairwoman of the Board of Directors. While she’s not disinclined to consider the possibility, she clarified that Bernexpo wouldn’t delay their event hall project for what is merely an idea.
The Mayor of Bern, Alec von Graffenried, doesn’t love the idea either. Der Bund states that he considers the unification of the new ice arena and Bernexpo to be “unthinkable”. However, he is aware that the ice hockey club will likely need a new stadium.
If the unification were to happen, SC Bern would need to adapt to Bernexpo’s schedule — a difficult undertaking. Additionally, Bernexpo’s construction process isn’t due to start for at least another year. Von Graffenried is sure that SC Bern joining the project would set them back five years.