Visiting indoor and outdoor rinks this time of year is a Canadian tradition.
Luckily, Red Deer has many rinks available for children, teens, adults and families.
Barb McKee, recreation superintendent with the City of Red Deer, said the number of users usually goes up this time of year, when schools are closed and families spend quality time together.
With usage going up around the holidays, the City of Red Deer extends its indoor rink hours at various venues available: G.H. Dawe, Collicutt Centre, Kinsmen Community Arenas, Servus Arena and Kinex Arena.
“We actually add extra ones (hours) because we know people want to hang out with their families and kids and do extra leisure stuff, so we add extra drop-in times,” said McKee.
The outdoor rinks are also open. McKee said the current weather pattern helps the outdoor rinks stay in “fairly good shape.”
McKee said Bower Ponds is the only rink where people can rent skates in the city.
She said Red Deer has about 71 outdoor ice surfaces around the city.
Although the city does not track the usage of outdoor rinks, McKee confirmed it’s up this time of the year. She said she lives close to six outdoor rinks in Anders and sees families enjoying themselves on the ice in the neighbourhood.
“Everybody is out on the rinks during the holiday season – it’s a Canadian thing to do.”
Some other outdoor ice surfaces around the city include Anders on the Lake, West Park, Oriole Park, McLean Park, Riverside Meadows, Pines, Eastview Estates and so on. Some of the facilities have boarded rinks for hockey or ringette while others use snowbanks for leisure skating.
McKee said some of the rinks come with a indoor skate shack while others don’t.
All the rinks around Red Deer’s neighbourhoods allow the community to connect with each other, the recreation superintendent said.
“The number of them allow neighbours to connect – whether they’re young families or teens – that are getting together for a pick up game of shinny, our outdoor rinks are a real sense of community,” she said.
“For me it’s a cultural thing where you meet people at the ODR and spend a few hours being a Canadian.”
A new addition to the numerous rinks is the speed skating oval at Great Chief Park. This facility will serve as the long track speed skating venue for the 2019 Canada Winter Games coming to Red Deer February 15 to March 3.
Setters Place boasts a unique 400 metre outdoor ice surface built directly on top of the sport field’s synthetic turf in the city.
McKee said the venue is “huge” and one that the city is proud of.
For more information such as hours of all the rinks in the city visit reddeer.ca/recreation.