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Will the ice rink ever return to Monaco?

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National Councillors do not wish to deprive children of winter sports - © Monaco Town Council

In 2022, the Prince’s Government wanted to set an example in terms of the energy crisis and climate change by scrapping the facility. 

Although the traditional ice rink was replaced by a Roller Station (open until the end of February 2023), it doesn’t satisfy ice fans, who miss the facility. They had a spokesperson in Mathilde Le Clerc at the Public Budget Session on Monday 16 October.

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Addressing Patrice Cellario in the National Council Chamber, the Chairwoman of the Education, Youth and Sport Committee raised the question: “Although I understand the energy impact issue, on which I would like some explanations, the consequences are harsh, both for the Monegasque Skating Federation and for all ice sports enthusiasts. Minister, why not consider temporarily covering over the Stade Nautique Rainier III to make an indoor facility, like for some of the facilities at the Monaco Yacht Show? This would make it possible to keep the energy impact down, and at the same time create opportunities for events and activities in particular.”

An artificial rink?

The Minister of the Interior replied: “There won’t be a rink again this year, as the Town Council has already made known, but discussions are underway to examine how we could drastically reduce the facility’s energy needs. We want to find a solution that would cover the infrastructure, but we need to gauge if it is feasible or appropriate to do so. For the time being, we do not have any concrete answers, and the future will depend on the findings of the studies.” Studies that, according to Councillor Le Clerc, should have been anticipated.

Fabrice Notari, Chairman of the Commission for Foreign Affairs, but above all an international athlete who skiied for Monaco at the Olympic Games, suggested an alternative: “there are synthetic surfaces that are 95% as slippery as ice and are completely recyclable. These panels allow you to have a rink that is not affected by heat. Holiday on Ice, for example, is able to put on fabulous shows on these artificial rinks.”  The Government seems open to the idea.

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“We are breaking the momentum of some Monegasques”

“The rink is an important issue because it enables several sports federations to exist,” said Roland Mouflard. “Figure skating, ice hockey, curling… There are no fewer than 31 Olympic disciplines on ice, a third of the winter sports events at the games. I don’t understand how we can tolerate an absence of this type of facility. We are breaking the momentum of some Monegasques. No Monegasques will be able to go to the Olympic Games in the coming years, because we don’t have the facility,” said the Vice-President for Businesses and Innovation in the Finance and Economy Commission.

According to the elected representative, the decision not to provide a rink for two years is not coherent, especially since Monaco wishes to become the world capital of sport 2025. Patrice Cellario replied that it was still possible to train outside the Principality, while acknowledging the complexity of the subject.

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