With a little cooperation from the weather, Rodger’s Arena could be ready to go by mid-December.
Rodger’s Arena is the name Brad DeMille dubbed the outdoor rink created at DeMille’s in 2016. He named it after his father, with some similarity to the name of that other arena in Vancouver.
After smoothing out the soil and getting rid of some of the lumps, bumps, plants and pumpkins on the field, the whole area will be covered in plastic.
The perimeter will be raised as a berm, ready for flooding.
At 150 feet by 80 feet long, DeMille says it will be “one blue line away from being an NHL-sized rink.”
It’s getting more expensive to make and maintain, however, particularly because of insurance, so rather than charging $1 per person or by donation, he thinks he’ll have to charge $2 or by donation.
He says the insurance will be about $1,000, the plastic is about $1,000 and the additional labour to maintain the ice through the winter will be approximately $2,000.
Winkler Disposal Systems has volunteered to donate the first fill of water, and the light has been donated by Woodsman Equipment.
“I think it’s pretty fair,” he says of the price, mentioning that if anyone wants to chip in a $2,000 donation, he could make it a free skate. The idea is not to make money on it, he emphasizes, but to cover costs.
A lot of people love skating outdoors, he points out, recounting how romantic it seems to be.
“An older couple, they said they just fell in love… It’s like a damn Disney film,” he laughs. “One of those pure moments… That’s pretty cool.”
DeMille says it’s great for families with kids because it’s not a pond so no one has to worry about crashing through the ice, plus there are no boards on the sides so people can skate right into the snow.
“It’s a real good place to learn to skate.”
Which reminds him of when he was eight and his family moved to Salmon Arm from California.
He started playing hockey with Bernie and Gary Hucul as his coaches.
“My mom said I was the worst hockey player.”
But he did have a moment of glory, scoring his only goal. It happened when he fell into the goalie and the puck ended up in the net.
“I didn’t ever extend my hockey career – that was the pinnacle,” he grins. “There was no going back after that one.”
However, you might see him skating on the rink, as he says he has improved.
“I can do a jump, a single axle. It’s quite good, I’m quite the little ballerina,” he contends, but adds quickly: “I’m no Karen Magnussen (who won a silver for Canada in the 1972 Olympics).”
So far the forecast appears to be cooperating with plans for the outdoor rink. From Wednesday on, temperatures are forecast around -6C.
If they stay that way, DeMille is aiming for an opening date of Dec. 15.
“I’ve got a little tractor with a snow blower. I’m ready…”