The Golden & District Centennial Arena, more commonly known as they ‘Plywood Palace’, will be closed until at least the end of December, according to Jordan Petrovics, the manager of Recreation Services.
The closure is due to an ammonia chiller failure. As a result, the ice has been lost. The town is currently in the process of pulling out the remaining ice. It takes around two weeks to clean up the ice, and will take up to two more to build new ice once the rink is ready to get back up and running.
There is no firm timeline on when the chiller can be replaced at this time.
In the meantime, the Golden Rockets Jr. B team has had to move their remaining home games and practices in the month of December elsewhere. Their six home games in December will be played in Cranbrook, with games being played at Memorial Arena as well as at Western Financial Place.
“We’re dealing with the situation as best as we can,” said Rockets head coach Jeremy Blumes. “Other teams have had this happen to them before, so we’re not going to stand around feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Memorial Arena is located at 1432 2nd St N, while Western Financial Place is located at 1777 2nd St N, for fans who wish to travel to see the team.
Practices will be held in Invermere and Canal Flats.
As a result, defenceman Samuel Lussier has been traded to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Lussier is in his grade 12 year and is a straight-A student, and was brought up in Golden. Him and his parents requested a trade due to concerns that the increased travel time could negatively impact his grades.
“It’s really tough, but he would miss 16 of the next 20 school days, and that’s just not acceptable,” said Blumes. “He’s a student athlete, but a student first. I spoke with his mom about our options, and Comox Valley seemed like a good fit. We’ve sent guys there in the past.”
The team will be selling raffle tickets in order to fundraise to cover the increased travel costs. Save On Foods has also stepped up to help provide meals for the team, as well as some of the billet parents.