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Thursday , 17 June 2021

SPORTSHOUND: Two more weeks too many

Two more weeks? Seems more like a lifetime.

The recent announcement of at least another two weeks of shut down certainly was not what we wanted to hear at the A. G. Ross Arena. But at least the kids can go to school and give their parents a break. We now have the lights fixed at the ODR so they can play shinny after supper until bed time.

When everything shut down on the November 28th weekend, we as a committee decided to let the ice plant idling for the month of December. Without doing floods, on the really cold days the plant would likely not even run at all.

Of course, of all the years to be mild, this was it. Sure, it seems like a waste of money, but otherwise starting up from scratch all over again is also a waste. And no one had a crystal ball to know when this will end. Who knows two weeks from now we could be up and running and have a few hockey games. Even if it is for only a couple of months. We can only hope. I know hope is not a plan. But it’s still a lot better than no hope at all! Thankfully, the County of St. Paul came through with a nice big timely donation at the start of January will help us get through the season regardless of what happens now.

Every year when we fire up the ice plant, we expect to have some breakdowns. This year we tried to avoid it by being proactive. The Zamboni is 15 years old now and would cost over $100,000 to replace. We had never had any major repairs done to it. We would change the oil and grease the bearings and that was about all. When we decided to take it in during the summer for maintenance to replace some worn parts, we were all totally shocked at the estimate of how much it was going to cost to overhaul. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20,000. Even doing the most important stuff still cost a lot. The compressor seals on the ice plant were leaking. Have been for some time now. Might run for a year or two like that. Or it might not. Better to fix to start the season then to have a break down in the middle of the season. Of course, once again that bill was bigger than expected.

The infloor heating system had been clogging up and giving us grief all last winter. What if all the pipes freeze when that happens in mid-January. The whole building could freeze up. Replacing the header and purging the lines, well you know the story. Once again, that wasn’t cheap either. Add it all up and you are looking at between $30,000 and $40,000 to start the season.

But hockey fees and the volunteer concession can still generate enough money to make it through the year. Add to that a provincial tournament and the Ronald McDonald tournament that we have been hosting the last few years with the help of our great volunteer groups and our bank account would be sitting pretty good at the end of the season. But of course, COVID-19 did a number on us. Shut the doors!

In the past, we have always done fundraiser to help pull us through the tough times. Some of them are impossible to run right now with the restrictions. Like the Great Canadian Egg Race that Dee Pankiw came up with so many years ago. The Critters game was another great fun fundraiser. The big weight loss contest was another fun event. The cash calendars, and all kinds of raffles and 50/50’s. Recently, Margaret Bayduza, our treasurer, has started a fundraiser that you can do it online. Send her a message, on the A.G. Ross Arena Facebook page, text or email her. Are you missing the arena burgers yet? I know I’m missing the hot dogs.  Here’s your chance to buy some!

A big happy 10th birthday going out today to U 11 player, Ryder ‘the Rhino’ Malo

K.A. Campbell quote of the week.  “Play every game as if it’s your last one.” – Guy Lafleur

About Doug Bassett

As Elk Point's resident sportshound, Doug Bassett has been actively involved in the local sports scene for over 30 years. He's been writing sports reports on local amateur sports starts for 20 years. Down-to-earth honest sports reporting, Doug will bring you updates on the sports that matter the most; your kids! Known for giving every kid on the team a unique nickname and highlighting their attributes, Doug will make sure you're up-to-date with scores, games, and locker room antics!