The ice surface in the new $16.55 million arena for Carmacks will not be regulation size.
The tender documents call for a length of 185 feet, or shorter than the 200 feet that’s become standard for NHL rinks and ice surfaces in general across Canada.
Both the Takhini Arena and the Northwestel ice at the Canada Games Centre are the regulation 200 feet by 85 feet wide, while the ATCO Olympic ice is larger at 200 feet long and 100 feet wide.
Carmacks Mayor Lee Bodie said Thursday he was away for the final design phase of the project so he isn’t exactly sure why the rink is not regulation but suspects it had to do with the property available for the new arena.
As it is, he explained, the community had to steal a chunk of land from the Yukon government that was being used as a driveway into the highway maintenance yard.
“To me a shortage of 15 feet is better than no rink at all,” he said.
Bodie said the first indoor arena for Carmacks is a major bonus for the community, the entire community, the First Nation, everybody.
Having a year-round facility opens up all kinds of doors, including more options in the delivery of opportunities and programming for youth, the major pointed out.
The Yukon and federal governments announced the cost sharing arrangement in a press release last week.
Ottawa will be contributing $10.5 million of the cost with the Yukon putting up $6.05 million.
Completion is scheduled for the summer of 2020.
The construction contract was awarded earlier this month to Scott Design Build of Hamilton, Ont., for $14.6 million. Scott Design submitted the low bid at the Aug. 2 deadline.
Johnston Builders Ltd. of St. Albert, Alta., was second lowest with a bid of $15.4 million. Yellowbridge of Port Moody, B.C., was third with a bid of $15.8 million and Wildstone Construction and Engineering Ltd. from Penticton, B.C., was the highest with a bid of $17.3 million.
Information regarding how many rinks in the Yukon are not regulation was unavailable.
But the Haines Junction arena, for instance, is shorter than regulation by about 20 feet, and thinner by about five, according to available information.
The former Stan McCowan rink in Porter Creek was 185 feet long and 85 feet wide, or the same size as the new Carmacks rink will be.
On a regulation ice surface, there is 11 feet from the boards behind the net to the goal line.
The distance from the goal lines to the blue lines is 64 feet and the distance between the two blue lines is 50 feet.
The 15 feet short of regulation will be made up in the distances between the goal lines and blue lines, and in the centre between the two blue lines, according to the Yukon’s Department of Community Services.
The department confirmed the length of the ice surface was restricted because of the available lot size.
The mayor said the arena was designed to accommodate the addition of a pool in the future, so that all of the community’s recreational endeavours are under one roof.
Heat coming off the new ice plant will supply the rink, the existing recreation centre it will be attached to and the pool in the future, Bodie pointed out.
He reiterated how the ice hockey surface can be converted to a curling rink in a day, and back to a skating rink in another day. The community’s old curling rink was recently torn down because it was at the end of it’s life.
Bodie said when the arena ice is not in, it can be a skateboarding park.
It can be a concert hall, a dance hall, a place for meetings, he said.
“It is just leaps and bounds ahead of what we can offer our youth now.”
The mayor said the only thing they won’t be able to host are bazaars because all the extra paper and stuff increases the fire risk so the community agreed to the condition it would not hold them inside the new arena.
In addition to the $14.6 million construction cost, there was $792,223 spend on engineering and design, and the remainder will used for contingencies, additional engineering and quality control, according to Community Services.
“We are very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada to build this new arena,” Community Services Minister John Streicker said in a press release. “We know how important the rink will be for Carmacks residents for sports. It will also be a venue for concerts and other events that will bring visitors to the community and boost the local economy.”