Dust off your hockey sticks, Fernie, the outdoor rink is soon to be back in use.
A generous donation of approximately $100,000 by a local paving company will allow the rink to be used year-round.
During the summer, the rink will be used for ball hockey, then flooded in the winter for ice hockey.
Rick Stebbings from Power Paving, Chuck Shoesmith from Shoesmith Construction, as well as the Calgary Flames have teamed up to complete this project.
The outdoor rink project is the result of the selfless actions of many business, organizations and volunteers. Back in November, a generous donation by the Calgary Flames allowed Fernie to get back on the ice.
This came after news of Fernie losing three key members of its community in a tragic accident at the Fernie Memorial Arena in October. At that point the town was without hockey, a sport that has been bringing the community together for generations.
A few days ago, Shoesmith reached out to Stebbings and asked if he wanted to collaborate to help make the NHL-size outdoor rink accessible year-round. Stebbings not only agreed but also volunteered to donate his services to pave the rink, a service which would cost around $100,000, according to the City of Fernie.
Stebbings said this is his way of giving back to a community that has been so good to him over the years.
“No worries, I’m glad to do it,” said Stebbings. “Teaching my kids to be generous in life too.”
Construction on the rink begins this weekend, and locals will be able to dust off their hockey sticks and roll out their nets shortly after.
The City of Fernie has not yet worked out some of the logistics surrounding the use of the rink, including light usage, time of use and maintenance. But Fernie CAO Norm McInnis says these details will be worked out after a public consultation process which is set to start soon.
“We realize that we had committed to doing further engagement, but this opportunity had a small window for us to take advantage of it,” he said.
“We are going to take advantage of it.
He explained that the City of Fernie is still dedicated to undergoing community engagement surrounding the future of the outdoor rink, and has formed a sub-committee on the Leisure Services Advisory Board who will spearheading this project.