Good days on ice in Rankin

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It just doesn’t seem the same as the days of November roll past and not a lick of hockey is being played in Rankin Inlet.

As of press time, problems with getting the ice to freeze properly continue to keep the doors to the new arena closed.

It just doesn’t seem fair for a community with the nickname of Hockey Town, whose citizens have been waiting for what must seem like forever to have a new state-of-the-art rink to call their very own.

Yet, often such is life in the Kivalliq, and across Nunavut for that matter, where permafrost, Mother Nature and construction crews often don’t see eye-to-eye.

Sooner or later, the beleaguered crew trying to get the ice to freeze properly will figure it out and the doors to the beautiful new facility swinging open.

Then, hockey will be played almost non-stop in Rankin for the next four months and life will be as it should be.

It is everyone’s hope the youth of our fine community will respect the new arena and the new set of rules regarding its use posted by Rankin’s Department of Recreation earlier this month.

Likewise, I’m sure everyone also hopes the hamlet really enforces the rules this time around and doesn’t back down from suspending those – young, old and in-between – who simply refuse to behave responsibly while inside the arena.

A crew member works on some wiring at the new arena in Rankin Inlet in October. NNSL file photo

Nobody likes to see anyone suspended from what is, for all intents and purposes, the hub of our community for almost six full months of the year.

That being said, enforcing the rules properly is the only way the community will keep its sparkling new building something that we can all have pride in for decades to come.

Anyone who has not seen the inside of the new arena in Rankin yet really should make the effort, whether you’re a hockey person or not.

I have absolutely no problem picturing in my mind’s eye what the atmosphere is going to be like in that building during every tournament in the coming year, from the Arctic Atoms all the way up to the Polar Bear Plate and the Terence Tootoo Memorial Cup.

In will be, in a word – electric!

Even the kitchen/canteen area is state-of-the-art and simply glistens from top to bottom.

And, even better, it was designed by Rankin Inlet’s own Kelly Clark-Lindell, who knows a thing or two about high performance when it comes to the type of food preparation people don’t quickly forget after sampling her wares.

Finally, if those who know me personally don’t think I’m eating my heart out over the fact I’ll never call a game in the new arena after officiating for 18 years in the grand old lady on the hill, they can guess again.

Being away from the ice has been tougher than I ever imagined during the past two years and I have a fairly fertile imagination.

So, you can add this old hack’s name to the list of those feeling more-than-a-little annoyed at the delay in the new building’s grand opening, but we’ll get there.

And it will be worth the wait.

The new arena will be open, the game will be being played again in Hockey Town, and the promise of a new facility to care for our elders and put a smile on the faces of loving family members glows on the horizon.

Life is good in Rankin!