With discussions circulating about an upgrade to the Brantford & District Civic Centre [to meet the modern OHL standard requirements], now seems like an excellent time to explore the vast history of this iconic Brantford sports venue in our latest addition to the Sports Venue Series.
A facility built by the local community, the venue was constructed in 1967, and officially opened on March 25th of that year. Originally built as a Canadian Centennial structure, it was placed conveniently within the downtown core at 69-79 Market St. South in Brantford. In September of 1967, the Pittsburg Penguins used the arena as a training ground during the NHL offseason. The Civic Centre was also home to the Brantford Alexander’s from 1978 to 1984, while they competed in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). In 1982, the Civic Centre hosted the OHL All-Star Game. The Brantford Smoke of the Colonial Hockey League also played at the arena from 1991 to 1998. The venue is now home to the Brantford Blast. Formed in 2000, the team currently competes in Allan Cup Hockey (ACH). The Allan Cup winners are known to put on an excellent show of skill and talent at their games.
While hockey is a pivotal activity, the Centre has also hosted an array of other events. The Civic Centre was a venue for live WWE wrestling during the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of the wrestling matchups were filmed for Maple Leaf Wrestling that aired on Hamilton station CHCH. Wrestling legends Jesse ‘The Body” Ventura, King Kong Bundy, Tito Santana, Macho Man Randy Savage and tag team greats The Killer B’s and The British Bulldogs all entertained the crowds with their high flying wresting moves. In 2011, wrestling returned to the Civic Centre when Championship Wrestling International presented “Brawl at the Bush 2” featuring WWE superstar Hulk Hogan.
The Civic Centre is also affiliated with many local minor sport teams to help foster the next generation of hockey enthusiasts. These include: Brantford Church Hockey League, Brantford Girls Hockey Association and Brantford Minor Hockey Association. These groups continue to host tournaments at the Civic Centre and keep the memory alive of this well-storied facility. For a virtual tour of the Brantford Civic Centre, click here!
In 2015, a $400,000 renovation saw the nearly 50 year-old wooden seats replaced with more modern seating as well as added wheelchair accessibility. The new seats leave the venue at a capacity of 2,952, but talks of an upgrade to support a potential OHL team have recently been discussed. The future of Brantford hockey is not set in stone. It is however, safe to say that the future is bright and the Civic Centre will remain a pivotal landmark, which has shaped sports in the “Hockey City”.
Come hockey season, expect to see another exciting season for the Brantford Blast. Tickets can be bought at the door ($15 for Adults and $10 for children, seniors, and students). Season seats can also be purchased at the low rate of $299.
To access a list of commonly asked questions about the Brantford & District Civic Centre, please click here.