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Trail kids’ rink to open nearly year-round thanks to donation

The kids rink in the Trail Memorial Centre will soon operate nearly year-round and offer some free programming, thanks to a funding injection from the Murphy Family Foundation.

The foundation, operated by the family that owns the Trail Smoke Eaters, will inject $370,000 US ($470,000 Cdn) over the next six years into upgrading the rink, allowing it to be used from October through July. They will also cover costs to allow for some free programs, including community skates.

“As a foundation, we couldn’t be more excited for this project and to see longer ice availability for the community,” foundation director Madelyn Murphy said in a news release.

“It may seem like just a rink, but what we see is all of the opportunities a renovated, nearly year-round facility will offer the youth and families of Trail: a high quality facility for the community to enjoy, the opportunity for families to not have to travel out of the community for hockey or skating camps, and the accessibility of ice time for young people at zero cost through free skates. And those are just the initial opportunities we see – we know there are more to come.”

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The enhancements, which include changes to the flooring material and installation of new insulation to maintain the ice temperature during the spring and summer, should be completed by mid-2023.

The Murphy Family Foundation will be working with the City of Trail’s parks and recreation department to bring free skate rentals and free ice time to the rink staring in February.

The Murphy Family Foundation, based in Minnesota, focuses on supporting organizations dedicated to youth development. In an interview, Murphy added that they are especially passionate about sports, as both she and her brother Ryan, a Smoke Eaters alumnus who now plays professionally in Europe, benefited from the opportunity to participate in sports growing up.

“There area lot of different opportunities with this one facility. We thought it’s a great focus point to pursue a lot of different and really exciting opportunities for the community.”

The kids rink was built in 1953, four years after the Cominco Arena was constructed. It has an ice surface measuring 70 by 147 feet and is used extensively for skating, hockey, and private rentals.

“We are so excited about this facility enhancement and free community programming,” Mayor Lisa Pasin said in the news release.

“With so many benefits for the entire community, we are grateful the foundation sees value in investing in our youth, community, and infrastructure. Not only will the additional months allow for more community and free activities, we will be able to provide more ice time for private rentals, hockey team bookings, training camps and more.”

“The Trail Smoke Eaters are thrilled about this amazing opportunity for nearly year-round ice in the Home of Champions, benefitting Greater Trail and Kootenay players alike,” Trail Smoke Eaters director of hockey operations Craig Clare said in a separate statement.

“We’re excited that the Trail Memorial Centre will be the only facility of its kind east of Kelowna, allowing our players to stay here and train here. We’re once again grateful to the Murphy Family Foundation for their donations to this project and their continued commitment to our community.”

Details about the free community skates will be available soon.

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