FERNIE, B.C. — Residents of a British Columbia city could soon be back on home ice, thanks to the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
The hockey team’s charitable arm, the Calgary Flames Foundation, has donated an outdoor skating rink to Fernie while the city awaits the reopening of its arena following an ammonia leak on Oct. 17 that left three men dead.
Organizer Chuck Shoesmith of the Fernie Lions Club says the donation comes with a regulation-sized set of boards.
He estimates the total value of the gift is $60,000.
A group of volunteers has stepped forward to build the pad for the rink and it’s hope work will be completed in December, although Shoesmith says when the ice is ready will depend on the weather.
Two men from Fernie and another from the Calgary area died in the ammonia leak at the Fernie Memorial Arena as they were working on the rink’s refrigeration system.
The arena remains closed because several investigations are underway.
The city posted a notice online earlier this month saying there’s no word when its only indoor rink will reopen.
Shoesmith says residents are grateful neighbouring communities in the Elk Valley have offered ice time to local teams but admits Fernie residents miss their own facility.
“The community is kind of feeling lost and helpless,” he says.
Fernie councillors approved the plan and site for the outdoor rink on Monday.
Shoesmith says work is already underway at the location several blocks south of Memorial Arena.
“The boards are from the Calgary Flames. They have their logo on them,” he says.
“It’s quite generous of the Calgary Flames.”