Ask anyone across New Brunswick about ice time, availability and cost and they will just shake their heads in dismay.
It doesn’t matter how many facilities are around there always seems to be a need for more.
That’s what makes the possible closure of the Chipman Centennial Arena so upsetting and unimaginable.
With so much demand for ice time around that region one would assume that both facilities in Minto and Chipman would be running at full capacity.
That certainly isn’t the case.
In small rural communities all across the province and the entire country for that matter, rink attendants usually have the daunting task of booking ice rentals while performing all of their other duties.
The phone rings non stop, but no one is there to answer the call.
One can only imagine the amount of ice bookings lost because of inadequate support for the rink attendants.
Rinks across the Maritimes are the life blood of their respective communities and are needed now more than ever.
The Chipman Centennial Arena is no different.
Like any small town rink, the Centennial Arena acts as a rite of passage for everyone in the community.
It’s where all that communities hockey dreams begin.
The rich history and future hockey dreams of so many young people in that community may come to end if village officials vote to close the doors for good.
You see if that inconceivable
decision is made there’s no going back. It will be the end of an era and a very sad day for that community.
Chipman and Minto minor hockey association’s amalgamated several years ago forming the Grand Lake Minor Hockey Association.
It was a match made in heaven with both neighbouring communities sharing facilities.
A concerned citizen revealed that the Centennial often sits vacant during prime time hours.
Is lack of need?
Of course not.
One would assume that village officials need to be more proactive setting up a sustainable approach when it comes to booking ice and facility rentals.
With the cost of ice time skyrocketing in large city centres small rural rinks in the province play an extremely important role in providing an opportunity for growth and development of not only for hockey, but ringette and figure skating.
Hockey is a way of life in this region, with the small town rinks it’s stage.
The beloved game has a unique way of connecting us all.
Unfortunately the connection between one community and the game will be severed by a decision made in a boardroom.
By all accounts the facility is in great working condition with several upgrades being made over the last several years.
The Centennial had a new roof put on a few years back and had heat pumps put in dressing rooms last year.
The Village of Chipman did release a graphic outlining several areas of concern on its Facebook pg.
The lifeblood of the game and a community is at stake.
This province and its young athletes can’t afford to lose another great rural arena.
It’s time that the community and outlying regions rally around the community of Chipman.
It’s time to save the Chipman Centennial Arena.