By all accounts, Lumby’s aging Pat Duke Memorial Arena has received a new lease on life.
“A silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” said Rick Fairbairn of the North Okanagan regional district.
It all started four years ago, when the small town was crowned champion of the 2016 Kraft Hockeyville competition.
“Which was an incredible community effort to make it happen,” said Ashely Gregerson, communications officer for the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO).
“They were up against stiff completion and so they won a $100,000 towards this renovation.”
Now four years and $3 million later, Lumby may finally have an arena that’s worthy of that title.
It’s all thanks to grant money from several sources that was made available to the community for the project.
The arena’s expansion houses four new change rooms as well as a player’s entrance.
Inside, there’s new lighting along with a revamped viewing area.
As well, two of the older change rooms have been upgraded and so has the building’s infrastructure.
Fairbairn says the upgrades will help the old barn — built in 1967 — see a lot more games in the future.
“It was truly a community effort,” said Fairbairn, adding residents can thank local hockey moms for banding together and pushing for change.
Fairbairn says some moms were motivated because the arena didn’t have proper change room facilities for their daughters.
“They put this thing together and organized it and that was the catalyst that got this thing going,” said Fairbairn.
While that room may not be the biggest change at Pat Duke Memorial Arena, it’s certainly important.
“We now have a dedicated women and girls change room,” Gregerson said.
“We have heard from some women that it feels really good to be recognized as a female who can play hockey and have that dedicated space.”
Unfortunately, COVID-19 precluded people from crowding into the facility for the grand reopening on Thursday.
However, the RDNO has created a virtual tour with an online video.
That video is available for viewing starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday on both the RDNO’s Facebook page and website, as well as YouTube.