A wave of concrete rushed across the future surface of the twin NHL arenas last Wednesday, August 17 marking a significant milestone for the NexSource Centre as construction pushes into the home stretch.
With a completion date for the facility set in February of 2017, members of the community are becoming increasingly excited with the prospect of being able to return home.
Town staff, members of Town Council and the many trade and sub trades persons involved in the build gathered prior to the concrete pouring for an appreciation barbeque. Workers were thanked for the thousands of hours of labour undergone in order for the facility to be at this point in the construction process.
Jocelyn Kew, Project Manager for the NexSource Centre explained the project is on schedule.
“Overall building we are around 65% complete,” said Kew. “The underground infrastructure needed to be complete. Now the concrete on the NHL surface is complete and that was an important step. Once that’s done we will move onto the curling rink concrete slab.
“Winter is coming, so of course we want to get that building closed in. That’s critical. It makes it really easy to stay on schedule when you have excellent trades people.”
During the pour of the concrete slabs of the new arena ice locations, Mayor Sean McIntyre had the opportunity to place two objects into the centre of the surface – a Town of Sylvan Lake pin and a Hockeyville puck.
“For me that was really meaningful, because this facility was really kicked off and given a turbo charge from the Hockeyville movement that happened in Sylvan Lake – we had cooperation from everyone, young and old,” explained Mayor McIntyre.
Following the collapse of the arena roof on January 20, 2014 due to heavy snowfall and aging infrastructure – Sylvan Lake’s Hockeyville journey began. Two years have passed since Sylvan Lake competed against a number of other communities across Canada to be named Kraft Hockeyville on April 5, 2014.
“Hockeyville was a tool we used to come together in a way we never have before,” said McIntyre. “Today is a really exciting day to celebrate that. It is a construction milestone for this facility, in that just over six months from now we will be home. The hockey teams will be home, the swimming club will be home, the curling teams and all of the dry facility uses will have a home.”
Graham Parson’s, former arena manager, Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey ice coordinator and Sylvan Lake Hockey Camp president agrees that Hockeyville was unlike anything Sylvan Lake had seen before.
“Hockeyville glued the community together,” said Parsons. “We are a fast growing community. At the time, a better part of 6 or 7,000 people had just moved to Sylvan Lake and it can be tough to bring everyone together. What Hockeyville did was bring us all together and give us one unified cause to rally together under.”
During the build of the NexSource Centre, the collapse of the arena roof and the closure of the aquatic centre many local groups have been affected by limited facility availability.
Over the course of the winter, minor hockey teams utilized ice in the neighbouring communities, such as Eckville, Spruce View, Bentley, Innisfail and Caroline.
“Credit goes to the teams, the parents, the kids – they’ve done a remarkable job. We never heard a whimper, they all knew it was short term pain for long term gain,” said Parsons. “We all learned the value of close neighbours with ice, because even when we get the NexSource Centre we are in need soon of a third ice surface so we are still going to have to be using our neighbours ice which is good for them too.”