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Hockey, figure skating practice times cut as Calgary copes with loss of another arena

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WATCH: The Jack Setters Arena will likely remain closed the rest of the season as roof repairs are set to start in January. The City of Calgary shut down the rink over concerns the roof could collapse. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports on the impact to users – Dec 17, 2018

The Jack Setters Arena in southeast Calgary would normally be booked solid with hockey teams, figure skaters, and others, but it’s been vacant since Dec. 2.

That’s when the city shut it down over concerns of a possible roof collapse.

READ MORE: City of Calgary to inspect all arenas following arena roof collapse

The Millican Ogden Community Association, which runs the city-owned facility, has been informed by the city that the roof is repairable. But it will mean Calgary is now down one arena–likely for the whole season.

“The work program for the repair process is expected to start sometime around mid-January and they’ve indicated at least a 60-day repair period,” said Rick Smith, president of the Millican Ogden Community Association.

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Smith said they are now refunding all the rink user groups.

It’s a big hit to the association as rink rentals make up for well over half of their revenue. He said the losses aren’t covered by insurance.

“It’s a complex situation that nobody wants to be in,” Smith said.

Also feeling the pinch are all the user groups that will be losing practice time as a result of the rink closure.

“It affects our overall programming,” executive director of Hockey Calgary Kevin Kobelka said. “It really affects our practice times.

“We are able to juggle and reschedule our games, but what it does is remove that practice ice that kids need to help develop their skills.”

The January opening of YMCA in Seton will take some of the pressure off, but those two new rinks will be covering the loss of the Jack Setters Arena as well as the Fairview Arena, which is still shut down after its roof collapsed in February.

READ MORE: Calgary arts group frustrated over lack of answers from city on future of old Fairview arena site

“It would’ve been great for us; we have a lot of growth in our south area of the city,” Kobelka said. “We were going to be able to give some of the kids in those areas–as well as the rest of the city–a bit more practice time. So when you lose the two arenas, it just reduces that and we go back to where we were two years ago, basically.”

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Hockey Calgary will be releasing its new schedule this week, which will take into account the loss of the Jack Setters Arena.