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City of Culver City Must Declare Culver City Ice Arena As A Significant City Cultural Resource

COMMENTARY: Some thoughts on the latest developments surrounding the former practice home of the Los Angeles Kings, the now defunct Culver City Ice Arena.


The landmark sign outside the Culver City Ice Arena.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

CULVER CITY, CA — Nearly six months after it closed its doors for the last time in its most recent incarnation on February 2, the Culver City Ice Arena is still in limbo.

Today, the only sign of life at the rink, if you can call it that, are automobiles parked in its lot, which was rented to a nearby auto dealer for storage of its inventory.

Indeed, the building is dark, the ice melted away months ago. Despite that, the rink is still “breathing,” as owner Michael Karagozian cannot do anything with the building, other than operate an ice rink, due to zoning restrictions on the property.

The latest development is that on July 28, the City Council of the City of Culver City will consider declaring the property a City Cultural Resource, which, depending on the classification, could prevent the property owner from demolishing, removing or altering the exterior appearance of the building, “…in whole or in part, without first obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Exemption.”

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Open Letter To Culver City City Council on Culver City Ice Arena

The following is an open letter that was sent to members of the City Council, City of Culver City (this one was addressed to the Mayor), regarding the property where the Culver City Ice Arena operated (the former practice home of the Los Angeles Kings; they closed on February 2). A new lessee, Planet Granite, wants to build a rock climbing, yoga and fitness center in that location.

As a long-time resident of Culver City, California, I felt compelled to let the City Council here know that a new, state-of-the-art ice rink in that location, and everything that comes with it, is what’s best for Culver City.

UPDATED: February 20, 2014. Now includes video of public comment period during City Council meeting, City of Culver City, February 10, 2014, when supporters of the Culver City Ice Arena addressed the City Council, including Los Angeles Kings radio color commentator Daryl Evans, and yours truly.


The landmark sign outside the Culver City Ice Arena.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

Honorable Jeffrey Cooper
Mayor, City of Culver City
9770 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2703

Dear Mayor Cooper:

As you are aware, the Culver City Ice Arena has ceased operations, with a new lessee, Planet Granite, expected to takeover the property with the purpose of building a yoga, rock climbing and fitness center.

As you must also be aware, City staff has discovered a zoning variance granted to the owners of the property that dictates that an ice rink is the only approved business that can be operated at that site. If I am reading the document correctly, the existence of this variance indicates that for the property to be used for any other purpose, another zoning variance would have to be granted, or the property would have to be re-zoned.

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If Granted A Reprieve, What Should Happen At Culver City Ice Arena?

CULVER CITY ICE ARENA CLOSING: In the final installment of this four-part series on the impending closure of the Culver City Ice Arena, and the fact that it holds a significant place in the history of the Los Angeles Kings, a former Kings forward, one who is very familiar with youth hockey in the Los Angeles area, shared his thoughts on what could be done at the site, should there be a reprieve for the ice rink.


Photos of the professional staff hang on the wall near the entrance to the Culver City Ice Arena.
The skate rental counter is in the background.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Over the last week, former Los Angeles Kings players and staff have shared their memories from when the team made the Culver City Ice Arena their practice home for nearly twenty years, until they moved to Iceoplex in the San Fernando Valley in 1994.

The Culver City Ice Arena is due to close permanently in less than two weeks on February 2, but there are very slim hopes that Planet Granite, the new lessee, will back out of their lease agreement when they discover how challenging it will likely be to renovate the property due to environmental issues, and turn it into a yoga, rock climbing and fitness facility.

Should they back out, it is possible that the Kings and their owner, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, would make another attempt to lease the property so that it can remain an ice rink.

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From Youth Hockey To The LA Kings, Culver City Ice Arena’s Hans Matzel Has Seen It All

CULVER CITY ICE ARENA CLOSING: Without some kind of miracle reprieve, the Culver City Ice Arena will close for good on Feburary 2, 2014. One man, who has been a fixture there for 37 years, has not only been a big part of that rink, but he also played a significant role for the Los Angeles Kings. Part 3 in a four-part series.


Hans Matzel, owner of the AMCAN Pro Shop at Culver City Ice Arena, has been a fixture there for 37 years, and was an important, behind-the-scenes figure for the Los Angeles Kings during the years they practiced in Culver City.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND CULVER CITY, CA — As has previously been reported in this space, and across various Los Angeles media outlets, the Culver City Ice Arena is on its last legs, unless a miracle happens.

The property has been leased to Planet Granite, which plans to open a yoga, rock climbing and fitness facility at the site.

The rink will close on February 2, and unless the new lessee backs out of their agreement, it appears that there will no longer be an ice rink serving the hockey and figure skating communities on the Westside of the Los Angeles area.

What is not all that well known these days is that the Culver City Ice Arena plays a significant role in the history of the Los Angeles Kings, as it was their practice facility for more than twenty years, until they moved to Iceoplex in the San Fernando Valley in 1994.

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