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City breaks ground for new ice complex

The new Crossings Ice Complex is more than just a business, or a partnership. For local athletes it’s an opportunity to develop their skills

“This is the next step, this will attract better players, it will attract families and a lot stronger programming in our community,” said Lethbridge Minor Hockey General Manager Keith Hitchcock.

Friday was the official ground breaking for a project seven years in the making. The iceplex is a collaboration between three levels of government, provincial and federal governments helping to contribute $35.8 million of the $41.3 dollar price tag.

“It does take some time to work out the details and it did go back and forth a fair amount,” said Recreation & Culture Manager Ashley Matthews. “Finally everyone came to an agreement and we really appreciate the money that has been contributed to us by the other levels of government. Without that, this facility would not be a reality.”

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The 125,000 square foot facility includes two NHL sized rinks and ten sheets of curling ice, and will act as the new home for the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association and the Lethbridge Curling Club.

“I know they went through a few different ideas and the one that fit the best for the funding to come through was a curling facility,” said Lethbridge Curling Club General Manager Dave Manser. “We’ve been talking for the last ten years about where we’re going to move and where we’re going to build then this opportunity came up.”

But the excitement goes beyond operating out of a state of the art facility. For local teams, it also means being able to host world-class tournaments.

“We’re right now at the point, where we only really have one facility that is a tournament facility for us and that’s Nicholas Sheran and it’s shared by us and the University and a number of other things,” said Hitchcock. “To have this ability to hold international, national provincial tournament is exciting for us, gives us a whole other aspect.”

Local sports clubs say the new ice complex will put Lethbridge on the map by bringing in a new level of competition. But they’ll have to wait a few years to see those events, with the complex set to open in the winter of 2016.

Construction is set to begin in October. The city has yet to award naming rights for the facility.

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