PHOTOS — Roof of Sylvan Lake rink collapses

A rink worker escaped with moments to spare before the snow-laden roof of the Sylvan Lake Arena partially collapsed early on Monday.



SYLVAN LAKE — A rink worker escaped with moments to spare before the snow-laden roof of the Sylvan Lake Arena partially collapsed early on Monday.

An employee was driving a Zamboni when he heard cracking noises. He said instinct took over and hunched low behind the steering wheel as heavy debris came crashing down all around him.

The force of the collapse blew out an end wall of the arena, which was built by local volunteers and opened in 1972. It appears one of the main wooden trusses collapsed, pulling down a section of roof with it.

Arena operator Graham Parsons said he got a phone call from the rink worker about 12:30 a.m.

“He said, ‘Get down here. The rink fell down.’ ”

A women’s hockey team was last to use the ice, with their game finishing about 11 p.m. None were left in the arena when it collapsed.

Parsons said it was a sad end for the arena, which has been home to long-running hockey school and has hosted tens of thousands of youngsters over the years. The arena was due for demolition in a couple of years to make way for a new multiplex.

“You’d like to say goodbye to the old girl the proper way,” said Parsons, who has run the arena for 40 years. “It shouldn’t go unceremoniously like this.”

Parsons is now scrambling to find alternate ice times for the hockey players and other skaters who used the facility. Other communities have already offered time slots in their arenas.

“That’s what happens when something like this happens. It pulls the community together.”

Mayor Sean McIntyre said the loss of the arena is a blow to the community.

“There are a lot of heartbroken people in Sylvan Lake today,” he said. “We’ve had an icon, a landmark in our community, collapse.”

The town already has concept plans in place for a new multiplex with an arena that was to be built on the same site beginning in 2016.

“Obviously, in light of today’s events, we could see that move up.”

Ron Lebsack, Sylvan Lake’s director of community services, said the arena was inspected by engineers several years ago and was declared structurally sound.

“We were still hoping to get a couple of years out of it.”

It is believed that snow that had piled up on the roof was the likely cause of the collapse. Snow piled up to 1.5 metres deep could still be seen on one side of the curved Quonset hut-like roof.

The town recently cleared snow off a nearby curling rink and workers were going to tackle the arena in the next few days. There had been no indications of problems until just prior to the collapse.

Barriers have been set up around the arena and the adjacent multiplex will be closed for a couple of days because gas and electricity lines have been damaged.

It will be demolished in coming days or weeks.

Kaylene Kangas and four-year-old daughter Brooke came to see the damage for themselves on Monday morning.

“It’s pretty sad when it broke down,” said Brooke.

“Thank heavens nobody was hurt,” said Kaylene, as she surveyed the wreckage.

The same sentiment was echoed by Barbra Scott, who stopped to photograph the ruined arena as she walked her dog.

“Shocking” was how she described her first reaction on seeing the damage when she took her children to school earlier in the morning.

“They were lucky nobody was hurt.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read