You can scratch another project from the wish list for recreation amenities in Estevan.
The City of Estevan, the Estevan Bruins and the local Kinsmen and Kinettes Clubs have come together to build an outdoor rink in the community. Estevan boasts three indoor arenas, and several small outdoor rinks that are well-used in the winter months, but it lacks a full-sized, outdoor rink with player's boxes, standard boards and other amenities.
Not only will the outdoor structure be used during the winter months for hockey and skating, but its concrete pad will make it an asset for basketball, lacrosse and other sports in the summer.
This project is a testament to several groups coming together for something that will benefit many in the community.
Local residents have been clamouring for a full-fledged outdoor rink for years. In 2005, when the talk of a skateboard park gained momentum (the skate park was, of course, eventually constructed, and has proven to be a definite asset for the city), there were discussions of incorporating an outdoor rink into the project.
The skateboard park was constructed. The outdoor rink was not. But the champions of the outdoor rink didn't give up hope.
Supporters of the outdoor rink now have to step forward financially, and back it as much as possible. One fundraiser has already been announced: the Bruins will have a jersey auction this upcoming season. But a lot more money will have to be raised to make this project a reality.
It also has to be done right, just like Spectra Place and the skateboard park. A nickel-and-dime project wasn't good enough for those projects; it won't be good enough for the outdoor rink, either.
Critics of the project might question the need for such a venue, but there isn't anything like it in Estevan. The small outdoor rinks that are located in Estevan's playparks are serviceable assets, and they've been possible thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers who maintain them. A regulation-sized with all the necessary amenities would give local youth another option for winter activities and fitness.
Young hockey players can go to the rink to work on their skills and creativity, and be free from the harnesses of systems and competition. A casual game of shinny is one of the best assets for the development of a young hockey player. Local figure skaters will have more room and time to practice their routines.
It will also help with the development of athletes in summer sports.
Now that the outdoor rink project is moving forward, an outdoor pool and a suitable outdoor running track should be next on Estevan's recreation wish list. Hopefully, they'll be coming soon, after the new outdoor rink is built.