The A.G. Ross Community Arena is considered the “heart of the community,” located between the Elk Point Elementary school and the FG Miller Jr Senior Highschool, so the idea of having to shut down the arena is unimaginable but earlier this year was a very real possibility with the facilities ice plant and roof in need of some major upgrades and repairs.
Chair of the A.G. Ross Fundraising Committee Courtney Kelly explains right now the communities fundraising efforts are focused on raising money for a new ice plant heading, costing roughly $150,000, and repairing a leaking roof at the south end of the building, costing $100,000.
“The worry is we will not be able to raise the money quick enough to fix the problems before they cause serious issues,” Kelly says.
She explains back in the fall there was the possibility the arena was not going to be open, meaning the different sporting associations that use the ice were having to look at ice surfaces in other communities.
“The problem with that is these other communities all have their own groups using their ice time, so if this was a long-term solution it could mean having to separate kids.”
With that plan being the last option, the community is rallying together to nominate the arena to be the next Kraft Hockeyville.
If the arena were to win the first prize in the socially driven competition it would win up to $250,000 in arena upgrades, the magic number which would fix both of the arena’s major issues currently. From now until February 19th the competition is in the nominate and rally portion, where members can go to the A.G. Ross Arena community page on the competition’s website and share posts and testimonials/stories in efforts to get the arena into the top four.
“Right now we are using social media to get the word out about the competition, but we could use all the support we can get,” Kelly says.
As of January 19th, the arena had 168 entries on its community page, with many posts highlighting how important the arena is to the community.
“This community is full, full of hockey full of almost any sport that we can handle as a community. The passion for hockey grows I believe yearly, when Provincials were hosted a few years ago the School Principals even made time for the classmates to go and chee on their classroom players,” Mellisa R. says in her nomination post.
“When any team at any level is scheduled to play, the stands are full. Even when the kids have grown up and moved on, the parents keep coming to cheer on the next wave of players,” Ben P. says.
The A.G. Ross arena is home to the Elk Point Minor Hockey Association, the Elk Point Pond Hockey, the Elk Point Figuring Skating Club, and Elk Point Elks hockey teams.
(With files from Kass Patterson, Vista Radio)