Steinbach Minor Hockey will need to make some major scheduling adjustments for the 2023-24 season with only one ice surface to play on.
On November 2nd, the City of Steinbach awarded the construction tender for the new Southeast Event Centre. With initial bids coming significantly over budget, a number of measures were taken to reduce costs.
One of the bigger changes was a shift from a two-phase to a one-phase construction plan. This means the old Centennial Arena will be torn down before the new arena one is complete.
Joel Braun is Vice President of Steinbach Minor Hockey. He says the association is in the early stages of planning for only one ice surface.
“It certainly will change hockey schedules as we know them today. We've all, in Steinbach, been accustomed to two ice surfaces, but that is going to certainly change for next year. Exactly how that looks, we don't know for sure, I just know that there are proposals and they are working on potential schedules for next year.”
He notes this means some practice times will be less convenient.
One solution may be turning to other communities, however, Braun adds “that is something that we have brought up and we have discussed but it is a pretty short conversation with neighbouring communities because they don't have a lot of extra ice time either.”
Braun notes one of the biggest impacts of this change is the ability to host tournaments.
“Steinbach has been able to host fantastic tournaments in the past. We would like to continue to do that, we need to continue to do that but going down to one ice surface pretty much knocks out any tournament possibilities, period, the end. There is not enough ice time.”
Unfortunately, Braun says this will affect the association's bottom line.
“It's a big hit to our revenue if we can't host tournaments and hitting the revenue hurts our ability to provide the programming that we currently provide.” He adds “to offset that revenue by increasing registration fees would be quite detrimental in our opinion so it is a big hit.”
With all that said, Braun says they are very much looking forward to the new facility.
“It is funny, in all my years of coaching, how the littlest things get kids excited about going to an arena that has some new feature, water bottle fillers, or stick holders or some new feature on the bench so we are certainly looking forward to the day when we can walk onto a new ice surface here in town.”