Strathcona Gardens staff went back to the 70s last Friday to celebrate a milestone at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
Dressed in period garb, staff mingled with and entertained a modest crowd that turned out to mark the arena’s 40th anniversary.
Staff and arena supporters alike reminisced over scrap books, old photo albums, snacks and complimentary root beer floats. A short ice show courtesy of the Campbell River Skating Club wrapped up the afternoon entertainment.
Bob and Linda Brind’Amour were on hand to celebrate the arena, named after their son Rod Brind’Amour, the former NHL standout who played for the St. Louis Blues, and Philadelphia Flyers before wrapping up his career with the Carolina Hurricanes with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2006.
Susan Bullock, manager of programs at Strathcona Gardens, emceed the event which saw school groups enjoy free skating and swimming during the day.
“It’s hard to believe but the Rod Brind’Amour Arena has been part of the Campbell River community for 40 years,” Bullock said. “When it was built in September 1972 it was originally a stand-alone facility. Although there have been some improvements, in a lot of ways it has actually changed very little.”
The biggest improvement happened in 1996 when rink number two – the smaller of the two rinks which is typically used for house hockey and public skating – and the leisure ice were built. At the same time, the front lobby was added on as was the leisure pool, making Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex what it is today. That project effectively connected the original pool and the already existing Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
The compressor room was then rebuilt in 2009.
In April 2013 the arena is expected to undergo a $968,000 major renovation project to replace the brine line system, cement pad and dasherboards. The arena floor and brine lines are currently on the brink of failure and if the concrete slab fails, it will be impossible to keep ice in the rink. Construction is expected to last from April to September of 2013 and the five-month closure is expected to cost the Strathcona Regional District approximately $22,000 in revenue.