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Hockeytown in Saugus may be ready for a renovation

SAUGUS — The new owners of Hockeytown USA plan to give the rink a new look after buying it from the family who has operated the facility for more than 35 years.

Paul Gilmartin, president of GLS Associates, said he will keep the iconic skating arena’s name, but plans to bring in architects to renovate the building.

“We want to centralize the entryway, open up the lobby area, and we’re having conversations about renovating the upstairs,” Gilmartin told selectmen on Wednesday.

Plans include bringing in new board and glass for the rink to improve the common areas, he said. The shuttered snack bar will once again sell pizza, hot dogs, and soda.

The 52,165-square-foot building was sold last fall for $4.1 million, according to The Warren Group.

GLS Associates owns and operates Valley Forum II in Malden, Haverhill Valley Forum, and Lawrence Valley Forum. Valley Forum II is the home rink for the Malden Catholic High School Lancers, Tufts University of Medford Jumbos, and other league teams.

Hockeytown opened more than half a century ago in Melrose’s Franklin Square and was founded by resident John Abbott, who worked as refrigeration mechanic, according to the facility’s website.

It expanded to a vacant lot on Route 1 South in Saugus in the early 1970s when the success of Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins made skating more popular. The Melrose arena closed in 1978, but the Saugus rink was passed down for three generations.

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