The Anaheim Ducks are working to change the perception of hockey with The Rinks, a fast-growing chain of ice and inline hockey venues in southern California designed to promote the game in a kid- and teen-friendly environment.
The recently-opened Irvine location of The Rinks is a prime example. Irvine Inline boasts a pro hockey genealogy, having been originally owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretsky. Home to three inline rinks, the venue is a fresh new take on hockey rinks, with family-style lounge and state-of-the-art Renkus-Heinz sound systems.
“Hockey’s always been a pretty underrated sport particularly in Southern California,” says Jason Voorhees of Costa Mesa-based Cantara Design, the company behind the audio systems at The Rinks. “It’s gotten a bad rap as a rough game, and in the past, many of the available places to play have been rather run down and neglected.”
As Voorhees explains, the Renkus-Heinz systems were chosen for their performance and weather-resistant durability. “Our primary objective was to design a great sounding system that was high-output, self-powered, and capable of standing up to the elements,” he says. “These venues are all essentially outdoors. They do have a metal roof, but no walls. So even though you don’t get rain, per se, you get exposure to all the elements – Santa Ana winds and humid, moist days, all sorts of extremes. Also, because the roofs are metal, the air mass that hovers above the rinks can stay cool, and when the sun hits the roof, that cool, moist air hits the hot roof and starts to condense and rain back down.”
Each of the three rinks is outfitted with four CF81-2 powered two-way 8-inch systems and two CF121-5 powered 12-inch two-way systems. “Since the systems are all outdoors, they designed a mobile control station on a rolling cart,” says Voorhees. “Every morning they roll out the three control stations, and every evening they roll them back into the Pro Shop.” Each individual station is equipped with its own MP3 input, sound effects machine and microphone.
All three systems are tied to a CobraNet network, enabling a central music source or announcement mic to cover the entire venue at one time. “They can control all this from a touch screen at the office or the front desk.”
Since opening its doors, Irvine Inline has seen a steady growth in popularity, with a full schedule of games and practices for everything from Pee Wee to High School Leagues.