It’s no secret that the hamlet of Kingman won’t be getting an arena like Rogers Place anytime soon. To say it’s small is an understatement. Located about 80 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, the population sits at around 100 people.
“The general feeling is that small town rural Alberta is dying slowly,” Trent Kenyon with the Kingman Recreation Association told Global News. “There are some towns that are bucking that trend.”
When you drive into the neighbourhood one of the first things you notice is a shell of a building in a parking lot. The wood studs are exposed to the cold winter air. Behind that partially built structure, is a rink of dreams. It’s a place where 10-year-old Braeden can’t wait to lace up his skates.
“We can play hockey and just skate around,” Braeden said as he reminisced about the outdoor rink that used to be there. “It was old, the skating shack was old. We needed a new one.”
The Kingman Recreation Association stepped in and started fundraising. It started with a Legacy Grant from Camrose County. Soon after, the organization received grant funding from the government, and businesses and individuals offered money and time.
“It was a nice rink, but it had some shortcomings that we needed to address,” Kenyon said. “We figured we better do something, and if we were going to do something, we better do it well.”
The building beside the rink will have a canteen and dressing room, along with a renter. Canada Post will open a post office in the building once it’s completed. The money from rent will go to help keep the facility sustainable.
“It won’t be the white elephant in Kingman 10 years down the road of, ‘how do we pay for this thing?'” Kenyon said.
In the summer, the facility won’t sit empty. A newly created 4-H club will use it as a riding arena.
The boards on the new rink are up and things are moving along inside the building, making the dream a reality for board member Joel Hein.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. “It shows a good strong sense of community.”
Hein is a contractor and is helping build. He’s also excited for his kids to have a new place to burn off some energy.
“You come together, you give and you put your differences aside,” Hein said. “You can create that sense of community and build something for the next generation.”
The association is still fundraising for the project. They are also selling hockey memorabilia on eBay to help pay for some of the renovations.