SPORTS FLASHBACK 1960: Playground rinks enjoy early start


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With the Steinbach Playground Association’s major upgrade to the community’s outdoor rinks on Creek Road nearing completion, Steinbach youngsters will be able to lace up their skates earlier than ever this year.

Just to get the season started, the association has announced it will throw the rink open for two days of free skating, this week only. The rink will be open Friday evening at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Playground Association volunteers have been flooding the rink around the clock for most of a week. Never before can members remember having the ice ready for skating this early in the season. And only once has it been made in this much of a hurry. That was an unplanned event last year, when a water main burst, flooding everything overnight.

When the Steinbach Playground Association’s building committee announced a $35,000 project last March they were hopeful that by the beginning of the next hockey season, young sports enthusiasts in the community would have a brand new building and hockey rinks.

At that time, tentative plans call for a “T-shaped” building, with the front part measuring 130 feet-by-40 feet and a wing of 50 feet-by-70 feet. A gymnasium would be located in the wing and would have a mezzanine floor with spectator facilities.

The main part of the building would include a canteen, men’s and women’s locker rooms, dressing rooms, washrooms, a committee room and a room for ping pong.

The blueprints showed three large sheets of ice for hockey, two standard 200 feet-by-80 feet ice surfaces and a smaller 135 foot-by-50 foot rink that would have a concrete base, making it usable as a roller rink in the summer time, or perhaps, as an outdoor tennis or basketball court.

Steinbach residents got their first glimpse of the new facility in January, when the Playground Association held a family night, featuring races, broomball, and of course, hockey. Refreshments were served in the new canteen on the premises.

To add a bit of fun to the event, a hockey team from Winnipeg came out for the evening and a new game, a version of softball on skates, proved to be very interesting.

Admission of 75 cents for adults and 25 cents for children was charged to raise funds for the ongoing construction project.

While the project had been scaled back to $20,000 from the original estimate of $35,000, the Association had already raised $7,000 for the project to provide youngsters with clean, wholesome organized sport.

Playground Association officials, on hand to accept contributions toward the cause, were pleased with the success of the evening.

When completed, the facility will boast the most modern conveniences, including the canteen, waiting room, washrooms and an area for lockers, people attending the January family night were told.

Carillon News columnist Ernie Neufeld told readers the Steinbach Playground Association project was a good investment, and hoped that within a couple of years a roof could be built over the ice surfaces to provide the community with an enclosed arena.

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