Upgrades to the Power Dodge Arena facilities have been approved at the latest city council meeting. 

Council had previously delayed any further decisions about the arena until Leisure Services was able to conduct research into the best use of funding. 

In January, Leisure Services met with Estevan Minor Hockey and the Estevan Skating Club to gain insight into what improvements would be a priority at the arena.  

Erin Wilson, Leisure Services Manager laid out the issues in a report to the city council: 

Ice Surface: 

  • The PDA ice surface is too small for some age groups and boards do not meet their requirements. The ice surface is 80ft x 185ft and for many age divisions, this size is suitable. As we move up in age divisions and body contact becomes part of the game, having flex in the boards becomes more important.  

  • As ice is being split into multiple surfaces for younger age groups, we find the dressing rooms are small, as often more than one team needs to share a dressing room.

Dressing Rooms and Player Boxes:  

  •  Players’ boxes are small and need improvement. The size of the players’ boxes are small for many teams and the doors can stick. It is also challenging to have coaches walk on the ice to access the boxes. The volunteers in the penalty box are also required to walk on the ice.  

  • Not enough dressing rooms with growing number of females on teams. We do have a room that we refer to as Dressing Room #5, but it does not have a washroom or shower. It is also a space that opposing team players should not have to share, but our space is limited. 

Viewing Area:  

  • The viewing space is challenging. The east side of the arena is not accessible to the public and much of the glass is boarded up.  

  • The access to the referee and players’ dressing rooms causes concerns for the wellbeing of players and referees alike, as they are required to walk through fans and parents. 

  •  The viewing area is tight, so fans are often close to one another, and with emotions flaring up in games, this can add to the intensity level.  

There were two solutions to the problems laid out by leisure services.  

Complete the PDA boards with the budget allotted for the capital project amount, which will improve the safety of players in all divisions. This board package also includes the players' boxes, so those concerns will be addressed as well. They will have side access doors, eliminating the need for coaches and volunteers to walk on the ice surface.  

The second was opening the southeast corner for fan viewing. This will include the glass being installed and bleachers available for about 30 people. The door will be upgraded to allow access for fans interested in viewing from that location. Fans will need to walk outside the building to access this southeast corner. 

Wilson also noted that Global Sport said that they would be able to complete the board upgrades at Power Dodge Arena in late June or early July. It would take them approximately 10 to 14 days to complete.  

“I'm glad that we were able to kind of appease them and find ways to make this rink work as best as we can within our budget, so that's great,” said Councillor Travis Frank. “So yeah, happy with that motion to go ahead with what we need to do. Especially if we can get more seating in that far backside, even though we have to go out around. It's not ideal, but it's what we have, and we can do it.” 

Frank noted that it was a great solution to get additional seating in, and then they could make more concrete plans for the future.  

Councillor Tony Sernick said he was resistant to the changes at the arena initially. Following additional meetings on the subject, and with a clear plan going forward, he seconded the motion. 

Councillor Lindsay Clark questioned if there were clear fundraising plans to help mitigate the costs of the improvements from any user groups such as the EMHA.  

Councillor Shelley Veroba explained that the EMHA does put money aside from the fees to put towards the improvements of facilities. She noted that she wasn’t sure that the boards at PDA had ever been on the radar.  

“Other user groups do help, and minor hockey should be acknowledged for the help that we have had in the past. They have helped us in the past, and I will support this motion as well,” said Veroba.  

The motion was carried, and the funding will be allocated to the above-mentioned upgrades at the arena.