Arena Name: Frank Crane Arena Capacity: 2400 Built: 1976 Address: 2300 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9T 3K7 Ice Surface Size: Regulation Last Game: 1983
Frank Crane Arena
What's the Arena Like?
Given that Victoria has had a WHL team from 1971 to 1994 and again since 2010, it's always seemed surprising to me that the league's expansion to Nanaimo only lasted one season. Nanaimo is Vancouver Island's second city and the gateway to the central and northern parts of the island, and I've always figured that a regional team would work well and save visiting teams from having to do the usual doubleheader in Victoria.
But we're concerned with "what is" here, not "what could be", and "what is" in Nanaimo is Frank Crane Arena. Built in 1976 as the Beban Park Recreation Centre, the arena is an unappealing dark brown building located in a park in the north end of the city and attached to a swimming pool. It's got the hidden entrance and lack of ornamentation common of 1970's public buildings, and feels like hundreds of similar municipal buildings across the country.
Once inside, there's a lobby with Nanaimo Clippers history and stairs leading up to the top concourse. The arena consists of two sides of seating in a football stadium-style configuration, with no seating at all in the ends. In one end is just a wall, whereas in the other end there's a balcony overlooking the ice. It's hard to really get too descriptive about the building, to be honest - it's a bare-bones 1970's arena that hosts a BCHL team.
One would still expect that the WHL would love to have a team in Nanaimo, and I'm sure it could work, but Frank Crane Arena would only be a possible home with major renovations and an expansion, and if they were doing that, they may as well build new in a part of town more suited to having a spectator arena there. But as a one-season wonder, Frank Crane Arena was interesting enough, and visiting at least allowed me to have the best Nanaimo bar I've ever eaten at a cafe nearby. Arena visits have been worse.
Inside Frank Crane Arena
What's the Arena Used for Today?
Frank Crane Arena has been home to the BCHL's Nanaimo Clippers since the Islanders left in 1983.
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