Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Canso and Area Arena begins season with raft of people-pleasing upgrades

  • November 3 2021
  • By Lois Ann Dort    

CANSO – “It looks like a new arena,” said Glen Avery, Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s (MODG) director of public works, of the Canso and Area Arena.

This past summer, MODG staff renovated the decades old facility. With a budget of $225,000, safety, aesthetic and energy efficiency improvements were made that will enhance the arena for years to come.

Avery told The Journal that everything was washed and repainted with new colours, “so it has a fresh, new, bright look.”

They also installed a new sound system and scoreboard, which allows the rink to customize the names of teams on the ice; instead of ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ it can now display team names such as Bluefins and Bulldogs.

The mechanical room was upgraded with the insertion of thermometer probes in both the ice slab and the brine which, Avery said, “Allow the control system to shut down once it’s reached its temperature.” It’s a feature that should generate huge energy savings. Avery said, “Instead of running for a 24-hour period, it will probably only run for a six- to eight-hour period once we get a little bit cooler weather.”

Numerous other improvements have been made that arena users will appreciate, such as new paint on the Zamboni; a new, user-friendly, skate-sharpener; rails along the bleacher stairs; and rubber flooring between dressing rooms.

“With females playing hockey, they can just walk across and join their team whereas it was concrete before; makes it a little safer,” said Avery.

While there are many improvements, there’s one in particular that Avery is especially pleased to see on the players’ benches. He said, “I coached there for 15 years so I know the building really well. The really small kids in the novice and IP (Initiation Program) programs, I remember them coming off the ice and some of them couldn’t see over the boards, so they didn’t have a clue what was going on and the benches were too high for them to jump up on so we used to have to lift them up on the benches as well.

“We built up the floor in behind the players benches so it allows the kids, when they come off [the ice], they step up and they can see the play and what’s going on. That’s a pretty good thing to do for the small kids,” he said.

Jennifer Roberts, mother of three children in the hockey program and a figure skating coach, said the renovated arena was beautiful. On opening day, Oct. 23, she said, “I saw a lot of very excited community members and youth going into a building that has needed some renovations for some time.”

Roberts also wanted to commend and “thank the former arena commission for what they did and how they hung onto that building as long as they could and made sure that the doors were always open.”

Roberts sees a lot of potential in the renovated space.

“We can do the programs that were already running there, but we’re all excited to see what else is going to happen now. This weekend, only minor hockey launched so for me I was there as a mom.

“To watch the boys (her three sons) go in, was really exciting. It was kind of like Christmas morning. They finally got to open this big present that’s been sitting in the centre of town all summer,” Roberts said, adding, “And I am excited to get on the ice myself when we [the Canso Flying Figures Skating club] start in November.”