The group involved in an ambitious project to bring a full-size outdoor rink to Estevan is looking at Canada Day 2013 as their time to break ground.
The plan to build a permanent outdoor rink at Kinsmen Park was first tossed around by the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs with a much more modest plan of attack. Now that the City and the Estevan Bruins are involved, the facility is looking to come in bigger and much sooner.
Once all organizations got behind the project, a committee chaired by city councillor Chris Istace was formed with members of the Kinsmen, Bruins and City of Estevan.
The preliminary plan calls for the ice surface to be equal in size to Spectra Place, which houses an NHL-sized ice surface of 200 feet by 85, complete with boards and glass. That was important to Keith Cassidy, Bruins head coach and general manager, and the committee who want to have something the Energy City can be proud of when all is said and done.
"I can tell you that whatever does go in there is going to be first class all the way," said Cassidy. "We want something that'll leave a legacy and that'll be well-used for years to come."
They are looking at a couple of options for board systems already.
Mark Tribiger, Kinsmen past-president, said the idea came up in their meetings as well, and they are happy they found someone else to help in fundraising.
"It was an idea that started getting thrown around at our meetings this year," Tribiger said, "and we just decided we wanted to spruce up our Kin Park a little bit more."
The Kinsmen's original construction plan, before the Bruins and City got involved, was to use leftover concrete from jobs around the city, piecing together the cement pad a little bit at a time. That won't be how they have to do things anymore.
"We had a little bit of a plan to do something, obviously not to this extent because we didn't have the manpower. Once we teamed up with the Bruins, it made it a lot easier to go to the size we're planning on. Now with us doing it the size we are, we can really afford to get a company to do it."
Cassidy said the project won't come cheap, but it's a new facility that could be used for any number of recreational activities.
"It's going to be a fairly costly endeavour, but the Bruins are certainly happy to be partnering with the City and Kinsmen and Kinettes," added Cassidy.
Cassidy said it would be nice to have something that is permanent, full-time and can be used year-round, noting the facility can still be used for other activities in summer like ball hockey and lacrosse.
The project is expected to be in the $250,000 range in order for the finished product to be something worthwhile. The Bruins are committed to raising $40,000.
Fundraising efforts will begin shortly. Similar to last year, when the team raised money through an auction of third-jerseys, the Bruins plan on auctioning jerseys again with proceeds going to the rink.
"It's an exciting project. We're pretty excited for the involvement. It's kind of puzzling that the city doesn't have an outdoor rink," added Cassidy.
"We were talking about what we wanted to put our charitable donations toward this season. A suggestion had been made that the city didn't have a permanent outdoor rink. We thought we would ask around and see if there was a need for it or a want for it. Kinsmen got on board right away."
The committee has already put in an application for a grant through the Community Infrastructure Fund. What the Bruins raise will be matched by the grant.
The committee is hoping to break ground Canada Day 2013, with a permanent concrete slab being poured next summer.
"It's very exciting for us to be the first to get the chance to bring this to the city of Estevan," added Tribiger. "Our motto is serving the community's greatest needs and we felt it was a need for Estevan to have something like this."