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Castlegar Skating Club prepares for arena closure

The impending six-month shutdown of the arena at the Castlegar and District Recreation Complex for repairs will cut parts two seasons for the local skating club.

“It’s a huge impact for our skaters,” says president Brooke Molitwenik. “We generally have ice until around the week of March 20.”

Molitwenik notes their skaters are going to the Super Series in Kelowna in mid-March, which is the second biggest competition of their season.

“We’re not going to be able to practice prior to the competition like we would in the past. But we are searching out ice in surrounding towns.”

Molitwenik said they knew the closure was coming and initially thought they would have to be out by Feb. 27, but have since learned it could be a bit earlier.

She said they have picked up a couple of days at the smaller Pioneer Arena, but it will close on March 6. Its ice quality has not been great this year, she added.

“There are some holes in the roof, so the last few days our kids have skated on that ice they’ve had to skate around pilons to prevent injury. Our figure skaters don’t skate with helmets and gear like the hockey kids do.”

Work to replace the leaking floor at the rec complex is expected to take until October. Usually the skating club starts up in early September, so Molitewnik said they will have a late start to next season as well and are looking for ice time in Trail, Nelson, and Fruitvale.

The skating club is the second largest ice user group after minor hockey, with 85 kids registered this year in PreCanSkate (ages 3 to 5) and CanSkate (ages 6 to 12) programs plus another 29 skaters in the STAR skate levels.

For the past two years the club has also run an inline skating program from April to June, which will be cancelled unless they can find an alternate

Molitwenik said there is no getting around the upgrades, so she just hopes that they will be completed within the projected timeframe, “or even sooner would be lovely.”

This year the club brought home 17 medals from two competitions.

On a happier note, they are planning their year-end ice show, Rock on Ice, for Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the complex from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Admission to the family-friendly event is $2.

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