The Centennial Arena demolition is well underway.
Excavators were fired up around 7 AM Wednesday and got to work, slowly tearing down the old barn shortly afterward.
A small crowd gathered to take in this historic moment.
Mayor Earl Funk was in attendance, noting he had mixed emotions as the demolition process began.
“It is bittersweet because of all those memories. This building is tired, it is old, it has served our city well during its time and we have added to it and we have spent a lot of money every year, keeping it up and maintaining it but not now it is time to tear it down and make room for the new one. Still, I am getting all sentimental.”
Paul Dyck is Head Coach of the Steinbach Pistons. He says he is happy they were able to wrap up their final season in the Centennial Arena on a high note. The Pistons played their final game in the arena on Saturday, April 29th.
“It seemed like every team that was playing here ended their season with a championship so we felt like 'Okay, this could be a very positive, maybe a fateful thing for us?' I know even the players were like 'Man, we've got to hold up our end of the bargain here and make sure that we hoist a cup in the building here and end our last year in the building with a championship.' So, we were able to do that which was just amazing.”
City Councillor Jac Siemens has a particularly close connection to the Centennial Arena, having been the head of the Parks and Recreation department for many years.
“They rolled up with the [excavator] and the first thing to go was my old office, so I thought 'woah, there is enough of that!”
Having been a big part of the team planning the new Southeast Event Centre, Siemens is very excited for the next step but notes this old building will be missed.
“Once this is down, there will be a hole here and people will realize how big a hole it was and how big this was not only physically but mentally, and being a part of the community, how big a center this actually is.”
When the demolition is complete, construction will take over the space. Earl Funk adds “Now we are building a facility for a larger community that will be able to have a larger community meet and gather and actually experience community in a really special way again and make new memories.”
Watch the rest of the demolition and construction process on our live webcam.