Arena ice’s lifespan extended into the spring

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert Raiders forwards Shane Danyluk (left) and Chance Braid battle with Regina Pats defenceman Kyle Burroughs in a game at the Art Hauser Centre last month. The facility will be keeping its ice a little longer than usual this spring. 

The First Nations Winter Games are awarding the city a unique opportunity to gauge public interest in keeping city arena ice intact later than usual.

The First Nations Winter Games are awarding the city a unique opportunity to gauge public interest in keeping city arena ice intact later than usual.

Last winter, the city’s elected officials reluctantly turned down an A&W Bears hockey camp at the Art Hauser Centre scheduled for mid-April.

“A city our size, if we can’t accommodate our user groups, there’s something wrong,” Coun. Mark Tweidt said at the time.

The problem facing council was a $30,000 price tag to keep the ice open the additional 11 days the A&W Bears requested.

Traditionally, the Art Hauser Centre ice only stays in until the Prince Albert Raiders and Mintos hockey teams finish their season -- an end date that varies depending on whether they make the playoffs and then how far they advance in the post-season.

User groups are unlikely to organize events dependent on such uncertainty, sticking instead to the earliest possible ice removal time of late March.

This winter is unique, community services director Jody Boulet said, noting that they’ve known for more than a year that the city’s hosting obligation to the First Nations Winter Games would necessitate ice remaining in place until mid April.

We do want to use the extended season as sort of a gauge to see what kind of demand there is in extending the season. Jody Boulet

“We do want to use the extended season as sort of a gauge to see what kind of demand there is in extending the season,” Boulet explained, noting that various user groups have been contacted to see if they’re interested in renting the ice between First Nations Winter Games events.

“We want to use it as an indicator for future years, and then if there is demand then we would look at a multi-year approach to that.”

The Steuart Arena will also remain open through to mid-April. The Kinsmen Arena will be closed due to required capital work at that facility, Boulet said.

“We will know after April what that demand will be,” he said, noting that a report will be made available to city council in time for 2015 budget discussions.

“We want to make sure that the usage is there in order to merit the extension.”

Organizations: First Nations, Art Hauser Centre

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