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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Hockey returning to Gardens

ESPN.com news services

TORONTO -- Toronto's storied Maple Leaf Gardens will reverberate again with the clash of sticks and pucks, this time as the home ice for Ryerson University.

The Gardens will reopen in the spring for the first time since 1999, when the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to Air Canada Centre after nearly seven decades at the old arena.

Though the ice has not been installed, the centerpiece of Ryerson's new athletic complex was open for a preview Tuesday.

The multi-use Maple Leaf Gardens also will house a grocery store and clothing outlet. The retail space is scheduled to open Wednesday, and the arena in May.

"History's history. We all know it's the Gardens, but at the end of the day, these people have found a way to make it a real destination and I think it brings Ryerson up a real notch in the varsity world for athletics," said Tie Domi, who played in the last game the Leafs hosted there.

Ryerson's new recreation complex will be called the Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre at the Gardens, after the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, who gave the university $15 million. His donation is among the largest gifts ever made to Ryerson. Two of Gilgan's children are Ryerson graduates and two others are current students.

The NHL-sized rink itself is called Mattamy Home Ice, in honour of Gilgan's home-building company.

The rink, currently just a concrete surface, scattered with pallets of wooden construction beams, is on the third floor of the partially renovated arena.

Ryerson's gym, which will house its varsity basketball and volleyball teams, will be located on the second floor.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.