Last minute arena snag, as section of rink floor causes opening delay

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Problems have surfaced at the community’s new arena, preventing the facility from opening on schedule on Oct. 21 in Rankin Inlet.

The delay means the annual prize-winning Rankin Rock Season Opener hockey camp could not go ahead as scheduled and will have to be held at a later date.

Rankin’s recreation co-ordinator, David Clark, said he was deeply disappointed that the camp couldn’t go ahead as scheduled.

Longtime Kivalliq Canucks junior ‘C’ coach Donald Clark, left, leads a classroom session at the Rankin Rock Season Opener hockey camp in Rankin Inlet from Oct. 14 to 19, 2018.
Youth leader Stephane (Piqut) Nukapiak pushes his group of initiation players forward along the ice during the annual Rankin Rock Season Opener hockey camp in Rankin Inlet on Oct. 14, 2018. Photo courtesy of Nico Manitok

He said the season opener is always scheduled to coincide with professional development week for teachers in Rankin, freeing minor hockey kids to have day-long sessions at the camp.

“I’ll be able to reschedule the camp as soon as the hamlet gets the keys to the new building,” said Clark.

“Now we’ll just have to run it with evening-and-weekend sessions, which limit individual ice time and causes scheduling problems with school facilities.

“But we’ll definitely be opening the new building with the hockey camp, we just don’t know when.”

Clark said (as of press time) a section of arena floor just wouldn’t freeze.

He said a flood was attempted last week to start making ice, but the problem could not be solved.

“They’ve been working hard trying to figure out why this is happening – and trying different things to fix it – so, hopefully, we’ll have an answer any day now.

“I was also planning on bringing a filmmaker to Rankin to do a mini documentary on the camp. I booked her six months ago for the camp’s original dates, but that’s in jeopardy now because she may not be available for the camp’s new dates.

“And we had the school booked for that week to use the gym and a classroom, so those are all variables that are up in the air now because of the rink not being able to open on time.”

Clark said they will still try and run a full program at the camp, but the kids will only get on the ice once a day instead of the usual two sessions.

He said taking the camp out to other Kivalliq communities this season still depends on funding.

“We put out the last bit of Arctic Inspiration funding we had recently but we’re always searching for new funding.

“My goals this year were to get back to Baker Lake and, possibly, go to Coral Harbour for the first time, and it’s all depending on funding applications that have already been sent out.

“It’s one of those situations where it all comes down to the almighty dollar.”

Clark said he’s starting to get a little worried about the bantam’s Arctic Winter Games tryout camp, which is scheduled for Rankin Inlet during November’s Easter weekend.

He said that’s the next big hurdle he has to get past before things get back to normal.

“The hamlet took it upon itself to bring-up our longtime refrigeration expert to take a look at it, so we can get his input into the situation.

“In my opinion, it’s a matter of getting the contractor, the sub-contractors and the government to all work together and get this problem solved as soon as possible.”

The annual Rankin Rock Season Opener camp means a great deal to Clark, who came-up with the original concept.

He said his main disappointment in the camp’s rescheduling is that having the kids participate all-day long simply makes for a better camp.

“The kids get a lot more out of it when they’re not in school and we have them for the entire day,” said Clark.

“The way it’s going to be now; the kids will be in school all day and then they’ll have hockey camp in the evenings, so it can become a bit of a grind on them.

“We’ll still make the best of the situation. We’re throwing around different ideas on how to make it work best.

“You never know what can happen with a new building, but it hurts to see a camp you had planned for six months – and that the kids were really looking forward to – not be able to open on time”