At the end of last October, the announcement was made the rink in Francis would be closed for the season. The rink, nearly a hundred years old, was starting to show its age, with a number of beams at one end of the rink starting to split. With the risk of failure, the decision was made to close the rink for the year and work to make the needed repairs.
With the rink closed, and some temporary bracing put into place to prevent a complete collapse of the roof, work began to get the repairs made and to get the money needed for the repairs.
“We got a new beam that has actually made it to Saskatchewan,” said Stuart Hall with the rink board, providing an update on the progress over the past three months. “It’ll be arriving at our rink within the next couple of days here to go in. All the concrete work, all the bracing that we had to do has already been done and accomplished thanks to our awesome construction committee that’s been heading up that project, and keeping on top of it here.”
The initial thought was that the work would need to be done all in one shot, and would be very expensive. Hall explained they have found out the work can be done in stages over a few years, which can help spread the cost, and give more time for fundraising efforts.
“The majority of it, and everything we need to do to be able to reopen the rink for next season, we’re currently on pace to have completed for May,” Hall added.
The plan is for the work to be done for some of the major summer events the rink hosts to be able to go ahead, such as their bunnock tournament. The town will also be the scene of a major fundraiser in June, with the proceeds going to help with the rink.
The event, planned for June 8th, will cap off a day full of activities with Justin LaBrash and Karissa Hoffart taking to the stage.
“It’ll essentially be an all-day event,” Hall said of the day. “There will be a car show, games for the kids, activities to do throughout the afternoon that are free to attend.”
As the day turns to the evening, there will be a supper with the concert starting up at 7:00 p.m.
Those who are interested in buying a ticket for the event can do so through the rink’s Facebook page.
The efforts to get the rink up to code for continued use is important for the community of Francis. Hall explained they have been very fortunate for the support they have received so far, and they are hoping it continues.
“The more we can improve that building, the more we can make sure it lives on for decades and generations to come – better off it is for our community, and the communities that use and support our rink as well.”