It’s a big day for Okotoks hockey families.
The long-awaited $15-million expansion to Pason Centennial Arena opens its doors after two years of planning, construction, fundraising and anticipation.
Okotoks Minor Hockey stands to benefit greatly from the new ice surface at the arena. It adds a fourth NHL-sized sheet to the town, which has been working at a deficit for ice time for quite a few years.
With more than 1,400 kids registered in minor hockey, in addition to figure skaters, sledge hockey players, girls’ hockey and recreational users, three arenas wasn’t cutting it for Okotoks residents.
Many hockey teams were travelling out of town for games and practices, including some cases where two Okotoks teams met in Stavely or Claresholm to play against one another.
More ice will mean less travel and easier scheduling for OMHA, not to mention more availability for other groups like sledge hockey.
Recreational skaters are also in for a treat with a sheet of leisure ice that will be open for 12 hours every day, free of charge.
There’s even a fireplace to create some ambiance and giant television screens to air events like the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
The expansion is a great service for Okotoks residents of all walks of life, whether hockey players or not. It provides another means of recreation and more space for those who choose to play competitive team sports.
It’s no secret Okotoks is an active community with a strong hockey contingent.
As Okotoks’ population increases and hockey programs continue to see success, it won’t be long until someone is knocking on council’s door for even more ice to support an ever-growing town and its most popular sport.
For now, teams can rest at ease knowing they’ve got a new home in their own town.