Excitement builds for new arena in the City

  • Dec. 24, 2014 3:38 p.m.

What goes up must come down is Newton’s law loosely laid out here but when it applies to the Red Deer Arena one must add that what has come down must go up again.

City council recently approved roughly $21.5 million to do the job, one which initially was disappointing to the general manager of Red Deer Minor Hockey.

“It’s a great minor hockey rink. It’s been a big part of the community,” said Dallas Gaume. “We have board members here that grew up here in town, played all their minor hockey here, they’ve coached there. A lot of their recreational time has been spent there.”

His view has softened somewhat however and admits while change has its challenges there is some excitement about the fact a brand new rink will go up on the same site.

RDMH is one of the biggest users of the arena along with having their office attached to the east side of the rink and he believes they will have a seat at the table when the nuts and bolts of the project get discussed.

“We’re hoping we can help create one of the best minor hockey arenas in Alberta, in the country. A fabulous rink downtown that we can all be proud of and that captures some of the old arena plus some of the obvious upgrades that are needed.”

There are some structural issues with the arena which was opened to the public back in the early 1950s and an upgrade was done back in the 1990s but the decision was made to tear it down, likely in the spring of 2016.

That timeline in itself presents a challenge to RDMH, with about 1,300 players, along with other users groups like figure skating, pond hockey and ringette .

“There’s a possibility we will be without one ice sheet in Red Deer for a whole hockey season or maybe a little bit more,” said Gaume.

He says it will have a huge impact on these groups so they need to come together as a unit to formulate a plan going forward to get through that time period.

A little pain for a big gain but the time has come for the old barn, he said.

“It’s going to be sad to see that wonderful facility go down but it’s also exciting to think about what we’re going to put up as well.”