Red Deer’s Kinex Arena only has a few months left until it’s decommissioned.
While Red Deerians still have a bit of time to spend in the old building, which houses an NHL-size rink, was temporarily closed in late November due to an unexpected maintenance issue.
“We had difficulty with our mechanical systems that didn’t allow us to keep the ice frozen,” explained Barb McKee, City of Red Deer recreation superintendent.
The arena was gradually re-opened throughout December, McKee noted.
“Right before Christmas we were able to return it to full service and it’s been operating just fine ever since,” she said.
During the unexpected shutdown, the groups that had booked the facility were able to get ice time at other locations, McKee said.
“We had an amazing collaboration between our sport partners,” McKee said.
“It did mean they had to do some really quick work to relocate some of their bookings. We were able to accommodate a large portion of them at our other arenas, which is wonderful, but they did a lot of work condensing programs, giving up ice from one group to another.
“I can’t say enough about how our organizations for sport in Red Deer understood the situation and worked with us to find positive solutions, whether it was Red Deer Pond Hockey, Red Deer Minor Hockey, the speedskating club – we just had a really great response.”
McKee said the ice oval at Setters Place was open in mid-December, which served as an alternate location speedskaters were able to use while the Kinex Arena wasn’t operational.
At the end of March, the Kinex Arena will be decommissioned and eventually demolished.
“With the development of the new twin arenas at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre, that will sort of replace what we’ve lost with the Kinex,” said McKee.
“We’ll miss the Kinex – the last year of ice service will be March 2023. … The building did serve the dry-land community as well. When it comes to things like lacrosse and ball hockey, it was a well-used facility in all four seasons of the year.”