The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs Midget AAA hockey team won’t be homeless for long. They just needed the city to approve some renovations to the Kinex Arena to make room for the temporary home.
With the Red Deer Arena, 4725 43rd St., set to be demolished this week, the midget team was in need of a new home. Staff’s commute won’t change much as the improvements to the Kinex, located just behind the Red Deer Arena at 4309 48th Ave., were approved by Red Deer City Council on July 18.
The biggest change coming will be the conversion of the second floor lobby into offices and a change room with shower facilities. City council voted that change was more desirable than attaching portables to the south wall of the building and using them as change rooms and offices.
Red Deer Minor Hockey is on the hook for all the costs and only needs council to approve the change. City staff and the minor hockey association will meet to iron out the details of the renovation.
The Midget Chiefs will play out of the Kinex Arena for the next two years and will then re-occupy the new Red Deer Arena.
After they are finished at the Kinex, the agreement with the city has them paying to restore the Kinex to its previous condition.
The minor hockey association had also expressed interest in making it a littler hotter for spectators by adding heat, extra parking and extending the operation season of the Kinex. However, city staff noted the Kinex has its own limitations that impacted the ability to extend the season or add heat for spectators. The parking request was denied due to the comparable number of parking spaces between the two facilities.
Red Deer Minor Hockey expects to have the renovations complete in time for the start of the 2016-17 hockey season. They will return to their old haunts when it opens in 2018.