Original Published on Aug 04, 2022 at 15:00

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Stettler town council lowered a major rental fee charged at the local ice rink in hopes it will accommodate a higher-tier hockey team’s efforts to appear in this community more often. The decision was made at the July 19 regular meeting of council.

Brad Robbins, manager of Recreation & Culture presented to councillors a request to lower ice rental rates for the Central Alberta Selects (CAS), a higher-tier AA team, to make it more economically feasible for the team to play at the Stettler Rec Centre (SRC).

“Stettler Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) has indicated that they are in favour of working with CAS to find more ice time within Stettler for their teams due to the volume of SMHA resident players that are playing on CAS teams,” stated Robbins in his memo to council.

Robbins stated that Lacombe is the host community for the Selects, and even though Stettler players are on the team the Selects don’t appear here that often. 

He suggested a reduced ice rental rate to make it feasible for the team to travel to Stettler.

“The Selects are a AA league hub center as defined by Hockey Alberta offering a competitive regional team at the U18, U15 and U13 levels,” stated Robbins.

“Players from the SMHA are eligible to try out/play for each of these teams as a result of the Stettler Minor Hockey Association being included within their regional boundaries. The CAS teams are administered under the Lacombe Minor Hockey Association.

“CAS teams currently practice and play games where ice is available within the region. This has included Lacombe, Blackfalds, Clive, Alix, Big Valley, etc. 

Periodically games are played in Stettler but it is rare based on dates required by the league that CAS teams play in and conflicts with SMHA ice availability overall.”

Robbins explained ice rental rates for a team like the selects would be $160 per hour, rather than the subsidized $80 per hour that minor hockey gets. 

He also noted it looks like the rec centre will have some open ice time in the 2022-23 season. 

“The Parks and Leisure Services department are currently working on a new recommendation to Policy X-1(d) which would take effect at the start of the 2023-24 hockey season, but as a result of the Stettler Lightning (men’s team) taking a second years leave of absence the SRC does have some excess ice that will be available for rent as a result during the 2022-23 hockey season,” stated Robbins.

“The Parks and Leisure Services Department are proposing a rate of $110 per hour plus tax. As result, a one-hour practice slot will cost CAS teams $137.50 plus tax, which covers the cost of one-15 minute flood. 

A 2.5 hour game slot will cost CAS teams $302.50 plus tax with the addition of a 15 minute flood at the conclusion of the booking.

“While there is never a guarantee that a Town or County of Stettler resident is successful in making a CAS team, the rate we are proposing would apply to all CAS teams regardless. 

The Parks & Leisure Services Department highlights the additional economic impact to our community by having these team’s playing games within our community.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky agreed, noting the lower revenue at SRC would be offset by the increased business which AA tier hockey brings to town.

Councillors unanimously agreed by resolution that the Town of Stettler agree to rent ice to the Central Alberta Selects administered and managed by the Stettler Minor Hockey Association at a rate of $110 per hour plus tax for the 2022-2023 hockey season starting Oct. 1.

This item reprinted with permission from East Central Alberta Review, Coronation, Alberta