In 2009, the society began the installation of a concrete floor, dasher boards and plexi glass in the arena with funding from Northern Development and several funding partners. The concrete floor was constructed with the trenching, tubing, and piping necessary for the creation of artificial ice. Having a concrete floor also required the installation of dasher boards and plexi-glass to ensure safety when sports are being played, not only for the players but also the spectators. The dasher board system and safety plexi-glass included full player and penalty boxes, glass on both ends radius to radius, glass on the spectator side and dasher boards up to adult or junior hockey play.
Dease Lake Residents Develop the Stikine Region’s First Indoor Arena
In 1993, the Dease Lake Recreation Centre Society was formed with the goal of establishing a youth centre, gathering place for families, youth and seniors and provide recreation and social activities. In 1998, the society built the Dease Lake Recreation Centre Society Arena. The arena was constructed with a sand base and 6"x6" boards around the perimeter to keep the water in when flooding and building the arena's ice each year. The sand base was levelled to assist in the ice builiding process, however, when there was no ice the arena was unavailable to ensure minimal disturbance of the sand base. The creation and maintenance of the ice was dependent upon winter temperatures and the arena was typically restricted to three and half months of winter use. Temperatures permited the ice being created mid-December and by March the winter temperatures were no longer cold enough to sustain a safe and proper ice surface and winter sport activities ceased. The Society determined that to shorten the ice building process, improve the ice sheet and extend the use of the arena would require the installation of a concrete floor.
"Our remoteness and inclement weather affects everyone. Having a year round, indoor facility, will provide everyone with a safe and warm environment in which to meet socially and enhance their physical fitness. A year round arena will have a broad impact on the community as a whole, providing all residents with a social centre or focal point."Annita McPhee, Chair, Tahltan Central Council
"Other than school, few social and physical activities are available in and around Dease Lake because of extreme weather conditions, funding restraints, and a lack of facilities. Our project, which involves the building of a safe and healthy environment, will encourage youth to stay in the community and benefit many generations to come."Bryan Ennis, Superintendent of Schools, School District No. 87
"Stikine's first indoor arena - finally! The facility is a place where all Stikine residents can participate; no more shoveling and waiting for it to stop snowing to enjoy the skating season. A huge thanks to all for the many years of contributions through every type of fundraiser to the many volunteer hours. We've had a healthy, active and enjoyable first year and look forward to many more. Look for new programs/events in the coming year! Watch out! NHL Stikine players are coming!"Lennette McLean, President, Dease Lake Recreation Centre Society
Positive Economic Impacts in Dease Lake
Extending the Dease Lake Recreation Centre Society Arena use has had a significant impact on the community and region as a whole and has brought numerous economic benefits to Dease Lake and the Stikine Region. Now residents can recreate in an indoor facility where a multitude of winter physical activities can occur including hockey, figure staking, and public skating. In the future, the society hopes to use the facility year-round for summer acitivities, such as indoor floor hockey, roller blading, basketball, volleyball, tennis, novice bicycling, ring toss, tetherball as well as a walking oval where seniors, adults and children can walk to improve their overall well-being in a safe and warm environment. The arena is strategically located next to the Dease Lake Elementary/Secondary School. Having an indoor facility significantly benefits the school population where physical education classes can be complimented. In addition, the indoor arena has offered the community and the region a central social gathering location for weddings, council meetings, major community events and also an emergency shelter.
The Dease Lake and the Stikine Region have suffered from a declining population over the past decade. Dease Lake requires quality community facilities to attract and retain workers drawn to the region for its natural resource development potential. The fully functional arena has enabled out-of-town teams to visit the community from Smithers, Iskut, Telegraph Creek, Terrace, Watson Lake, Whitehorse and other locations and has allowed Dease Lake to host a variety of tournaments that have contributed to year-round tourism and event hosting in Dease Lake.
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