Renovated rink ready

By Geoff Lee

January 21, 2016 10:49 AM

Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders, left, chats with Heather Dow, arenas manager, second from right, who led a tour of the new female dressing room at Russ Robertson Arena Tuesday.

Minor hockey is on a breakaway in 2016 at Russ Robertson Arena with better utilization and more ice time thanks to a $1.4 million expansion and upgrade.
The city of Lloydminster celebrated the completion of construction with a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday with minor hockey users top of mind.
“The facility is fantastic to the community as a whole and one of our larger users, minor hockey,” said   Don Stang director of community services.
“The dressing rooms have been expanded so they can be used by all ages with those organizations as well as other user groups.”
The improvements to the arena included doubling the size of four dressing rooms and a special change room for females.
The upgrades include an improved lobby, an exterior facade and LED lighting for the rink.
“This is terrific for minor hockey and adult hockey as well,” said Coun. Larry Sauer.
“Up until now, that the dressing rooms have expanded, we really couldn’t have kids over the age of pee wee for safety concerns — just the ability to get dressed, the amount of room you need for dressing.”
The expansion, he said, means minor hockey will be able to utilize more ice and more games on their team schedules.
“In the foreseeable future this is probably going to be able to be utilized a fair bit more,” he said.
Sauer said the city is “in pretty good shape right now” with the number of ice services available for minor and adult hockey.
“We had been contemplating about maybe twinning this one, but that’s to be determined,” he added.  “For now we are in pretty good shape.”
Stang noted there will likely be some minor repairs made to the parking lot in 2016 to complete the work.
Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders gave a nod to contractor Bexon Construction for a job well done in his opening remarks inside the refreshed lobby.
“Certainly the last few months of construction have been challenging for both our city and our staff and our arena users,” he said.
“With a little ingenuity we were able to keep the Russ Robertson arena operating during the renovations.”
Saunders also took time to gush about the obvious changes to the look of the 40 year-old facility where he and Sauer have played some hockey over the years.
“Those of us who have played hockey here or have had children here, truly appreciate how great it is to have those old original dressing rooms expanded,” said Saunders.
The arena was originally built in 1976.
Saunders was especially pleased to be able to provide the growing number of female athletes with their own dressing room while crediting Sauer for that idea.
“I know he’s following his grandchildren in ladies’ hockey and it is something Larry said we have to get done,” said Saunders.
Stang also added his endorsement for the change room for females.
“We are seeing an increased need and we are getting lots of females playing on male teams,” he said.
“To give them an area to get dressed and have privacy and join their team after is fantastic.”
Stang said the dressing rooms are used by other user groups such as lacrosse players in the summer.

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