In a great winter city like Edmonton with temperatures dipping well into the negatives, while others might flock inside for warmth, there are plenty itching to get outside for some shinny on the outdoor rink. Is there a better sound than freshly sharpened skates hitting a smooth sheet of outdoor ice? Ask the people of Beacon Heights and you’re most likely to hear a resounding no. On a blistering cold day this past February 22, the community came together alongside Oilers superstars Taylor Hall
and Jordan Eberle
to celebrate the grand opening of the Beacon Heights community outdoor rink. On the eve of the Olympic men’s gold medal game after our Canadian women had already stolen gold, it was a fitting time to be celebrating where for a lot of young Canadians, the passion for hockey begins.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) in partnership with the Hockey Canada Foundation (HCF) have come together with the Beverly Towne Community Development Society to refurbish the outdoor rinks in both the Beacon Heights and Beverly Heights communities; with Beacon Heights complete, next up is the re-development of the Beverly Heights community rink beginning early next spring.
“This is such a fabulous thing for our community. It means the world to us that the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) and the Hockey Canada Foundation (HCF) have come in here and contributed a big effort for our kids in the neighbourhood,” said Mark Stephenson, Beacon Heights Community League President. “It might just be a rink to some, but for us, it’s a total revitalization of Beacon Heights and it’s going to serve as an important space for our community to come together.”
The EOCF and HCF have jointly contributed $460,000 to help revitalize both outdoor rink projects with new boards, gates, lights, nets, players’ benches, penalty boxes and fencing. With plenty of shinny, organized hockey and skating in Beacon Heights’ future, it will also serve as an importance space for the community.
“The Oilers Foundation cares deeply about place-making and that’s what we’ve done here in Beacon Heights, this outdoor rink is a place where people can come and feel part of the community,” said Richard Wong, Chair, EOCF. “The energy I felt this morning with some of the kids checking out the rink for the first time was infectious. This is truly a great day for Northeast Edmonton.”
The day wouldn’t be complete without christening the new rink with a game of classic shinny as Hall and Eberle had all skaters place their sticks at centre ice to divide the group into two teams. With plenty of skating and smiles, Beacon Heights enjoyed a great moment with two top Oilers who felt a bit of nostalgia being on an outdoor rink.
“Today definitely brings me right back to my outdoor hockey days growing up. In a lot of ways it’s the place where you fall in love with the game so for a rink like this to be built and revamped is a huge thing for this community,” said Taylor Hall. “I got better playing outside working on a few moves and enjoying time with my buddies. As long as these kids are having fun then this rink has done its job.”
Beacon Heights is in store for a lot of early mornings and late nights on the rink and we’re sure if you asked them, they’d be just fine with that.
To learn more about the EOCF in the community, please visit oilersfoundation.ca.