Two Outdoor Skating Rinks Being Built in Fernie, Thanks to NHL's Calgary Flames

Credit: LeaveTown Vacations

Following last month's tragic ammonia leak at the Memorial Arena, the community of Fernie looks to come together in celebration of one of its favourite pastimes.

Residents of Fernie have been without a permanent place to hit the ice since the incident on October 17.

Mayor Mary Giuliano says this was the main inspiration for wanting to give them an alternative.

"The City was approached by citizens, saying that, although we're very appreciative that Sparwood and Elkford have offered their facilities, and they are being used by Fernie, there are children in hockey and skating that are finding it difficult and might have to drop out."

While city staff had been working on some form of outdoor skating facility for more than a month now, it was the Calgary Flames Foundation that really allowed the project to get into gear.

The hockey non-profit, without being asked, stepped in and donated a 200x85 foot set of boards to accommodate the rink at the Fernie Aquatics Centre.

Giuliano especially felt grateful after hearing that the local Lions Club will handle all of the remaining fundraising costs for the project, which are estimated at approximately $25,000.

The group looks to host a variety of events to raise money for the rink over the next few weeks.

This, however, is not the only outdoor skating rink being built in Fernie.

Lloyd Smith worked as the City of Fernie's Director of Leisure Services for a few years before he was killed in the ammonia leak last month.

He had taken it upon himself to build a smaller rink by the courthouse last winter, and Giuliano says they want to do that again to honour him.

"This is the kind of person he was and that's why he is going to be so missed. He knew what the community wanted and he would make it happen - no fanfare or nothing. Last year, we had this wonderful skating rink on the courthouse grounds and everyone loved it."

The larger rink by the Aquatic Centre should be operational by Christmas, while the smaller one should be up in the next couple of weeks.

It is unclear at this time if the Fernie Ghostriders will be able to play on either.

- David Opinko

Audio: Mary Giuliano, Mayor, City of Fernie (on the Calgary Flames Foundation's donation)

More from Lethbridge News

Recently Played