By Meghan Hall
The San Jose Barracuda, the American Hockey League (AHL) development affiliate of the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks, is going to see big changes to its home at Solar4America Ice in the coming years. At the end of January, the City of San Jose unanimously approved a 200,000 square foot expansion of the ice facility, making it the largest facility under one roof west of the Mississippi River.
“We are thrilled to enhance our partnership with the City of San Jose and add much-needed additional sheets of ice at Solar4America at San Jose,” said Senior Vice President, SAP Center and Sharks Ice Jon Gustafson in a statement. “This facility has become an incredible community asset, hosting more than 1.2 million visitors each year. It is also an important economic engine for our city, generating thousands of dollars in Transient Occupancy Taxes through hosting national and international hockey and ice competitions, filling nearly 6,000 hotel rooms annually.”
The expansion would increase the building’s total ice sheets to six; one of the ice sheets will be located inside a two-story, 4,200-seat spectator arena. The arena will be the new home of the San Jose Barracuda and will have locker rooms, training facilities and an executive office space for the Barracuda. The expansion’s amenities list is also extensive, with an in-arena Jumbotron, 46-person party deck, three bar and seven food concession locations and a press room planned. A 20,000 square foot dedicated medical facility, expanded restaurants, a homework study area and fitness center are also highlighted in the plans.
Overall, the expansion will bring Solar4America Ice’s footprint to just under 400,000 square feet. The development team is targeting LEED Silver certification.
Construction will begin in April of this year, with completion expected in the spring of 2022.
Over the past twenty years, the facility has seen two expansions: In 1999, a third ice sheet and training facility was completed for the San Jose Sharks, and in 2005, a fourth ice sheet and Stanley’s Sports Bar was constructed.
Solar4America Ice at San Jose is owned by the City of San Jose, but has been managed and operated by Sharks Ice LLC, a subsidiary of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, since 1998. The Solar4America at San Jose facility has since served as the official practice and training facility for the San Jose Sharks and the Barracuda, as well as the San Jose State University Spartans hockey team, the Jr. Sharks hockey program, the Peninsula Figure Skating Club and Silicon Valley Curling Club.
Throughout the Bay Area, Sharks Ice LLC also operates the Solar4America Ice at Fremont and the Oakland Ice Center. In conjunction with San Jose, all three facilities are home to the largest adult hockey league in the United States, with 4,300 members. Over the years, 2019 and 2020 U.S. Figure Skating National Champion Alysa Liu has trained out of the Sharks Ice facilities, as has 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi, 1996 U.S. National Champion Rudy Galindo, 2014 Olympian Polina Edmunds and 2017 National Champion Karen Chen.
As of this writing, Gustafon did not return The Registry’s request for updated comment.