Siksika Nation members will have more recreational options next year, with the addition of a new outdoor rink funded through a partnership between The Calgary Flames Foundation and Siksika Health.
The new rink, to be called The Calgary Flames Outdoor Rink, will be constructed over the spring and summer to become operational sometime next winter, either in late 2021 or early 2022.
According to Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot, the rink will provide new opportunities to local athletes.
“Siksika has many young athletes who love participating in sports, but often don’t have the means or opportunities to do so,” he said.
The rink will help to develop and enhance players skills, but also serve as a new and safe environment for new skaters, said Ethan Yellow Old Woman, a Siksika Nation member, in a video posted to Twitter. “This will bring more youth and families together and give them an opportunity to create new, lasting memories,” he said, adding the closest outdoor rinks are 30 minutes to one hour away from Siksika Nation. “That just isn’t an option for most members.”
The rink will be located to the southeast corner of the Deerfoot Sportsplex Arena parking lot, allowing it to be maintained by the Zamboni there, explained Richard Running Rabbit, program coordinator with Siksika Health Services.
Siksika Nation is investigating other winter recreation amenities in the area, including tubing, and fire pits with seating, he said.
The rink will also provide recreation throughout the year, with the addition of basketball hoops, ramps for skateboarding and lacrosse nets in warmer temperatures.
“It’s not only going to serve just for hockey and skating,” said Running Rabbit
Once the weather warms up and the snow clears, new asphalt will be added to the area and graded. This will be done to allow proper site drainage in the spring. After that, boards will be installed, as well as attachments, such as a players’ box, caging and lighting.
The rink will provide more recreation opportunities outside, when COVID-19 is limiting indoor activities, said Running Rabbit.
“We’re going to have more recreational options for young people, as well as families who can book as cohorts,” he said. “We don’t know what’s in store for next year, but this will definitely be something we can look forward to using.”
Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times