The puck will drop six months early at the new Servus Arena.
Red Deer council set up a January opening on Friday by approving just under $42,000 in operating costs.
Local residents can get a look at the arena at an official opening Jan. 13 beginning at noon. Family activities will run until 3 p.m.
Servus Arena replaces the 64-year-old Red Deer Arena, which was long past its best-before date and was torn down in 2016.
The new arena has an NHL-size rink, indoor walking track, interior link to Pidherney Centre curling facility and room temperature seating for 1,360 spectators.
“This premiere spectator arena is at the heart and centre of our community, and we are excited to welcome a new generation of hockey players, ringette players and figure skaters who will call this ice their home,” said Mayor Tara Veer.
Project superintendent Curtis Martinek said the early reviews have been good.
“I’ve talked to a few people who have been in lately and everyone seems pretty exciting and pretty pleased with the finished product,” said Martinek.
Word has already gone out to ice users to alert them that an extra ice surface will soon be available.
Martinek expects there will be plenty of takers, especially come playoff time for hockey.
There were a few factors working in the city’s favour when construction got underway.
Good weather and the use of pre-cast panels in construction were the biggest reasons builders were able to get ahead of schedule.
The city purposely set a conservative opening target in case building material deliveries were late or other complications arose.
“But in this case everything showed up as per schedule and everything rolled along really quickly,” he said.