Hockey players and skating enthusiasts will be pleased to see a new outdoor recreation amenity is coming to Crossfield this fall.
On Sept. 9, construction began on a boarded outdoor skating rink in Vista Crossing's Amery Park. Depending on weather, the $150,000 amenity is slated to be complete by late October, according to Mustafa Hashimi, director of infrastructure for the Town of Crossfield.
“It’s a good initiative because it’s going to bring the community together,” he said, adding this will be Crossfield’s first boarded outdoor rink. Previously, the space was flooded in the winter to create an outdoor skating area but was not boarded.
“Especially in the tough times we’re living in right now, it gives children a place to play, and even adults [will] be able to go play hockey, keep active and still keep outdoors,” Hashimi said.
According to a press release from the Town, Professional Excavators and Construction Ltd. has been contracted to complete the project. Hashimi said topsoil at the site has been stripped down and the contractors will pave a large asphalt pad, which will serve as the rink’s base.
After the paving is complete, Hashimi said the perimeter boards will be mounted and braced.
“Then we’ll install all the sporting equipment required, such as hoops and nets,” he said. “We’ll put fencing around where the backboards are so that pucks don’t hit vehicles or anything like that.”
Though the rink will primarily be used for hockey and skating, Hashimi said the venue lends itself to other uses in the summer, like basketball and pickleball.
While the Town is funding most of the project, he added Makadiff Sports is helping pay for the rink with a $25,000 donation. According to makadiffsports.org, Makadiff Sports is a non-profit organization that seeks to “encourage the growth and development of amateur sport through financial support of worthy innovative initiatives" in Alberta.
Douglas Mitchell, chair of Makadiff Sports' board of directors, said the application from the Town of Crossfield was one of 17 projects to receive a grant from the organization this year. He said Makadiff Sports focuses on grassroots sports.
"We get many requests to sponsor a player going to Europe, or a AAA hockey tournament coming to Red Deer, but we don't get involved with any of that – it's all about grassroots," he said, adding the non-profit has supplied more than $1 million to various sporting initiatives since forming five years ago.
In terms of the application from Crossfield, Mitchell said Makadiff Sports supported the idea of a small town providing another outdoor sports facility for its youth.
"I think it's worked out very well, and we've made a difference in a lot of areas around the province," he said. "By accident rather than planning, we don't get a lot of requests from Calgary or Edmonton, and that's quite alright with us. We like the smaller areas, and giving money where [it's needed]."
The rink will be Crossfield’s newest outdoor recreational amenity. According to Hashimi, the Town has focused on improving its outdoor rec offerings in recent years. Other outdoor amenities in Crossfield include basketball and tennis courts and a splash pad in Banta park; a fishing pond on the west end of Laut Avenue and Range Road 12; baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a running track and skate park in McCaskill Park; and various playgrounds throughout the town.
“As a community, we believe in helping our youth stay active and encouraging them to go out and play sports,” Hashimi said. “We get into a lot of communities that don’t invest in sporting fields, and they have a hard time keeping people busy and providing activities outdoors.”