By Greg Price
Trent Smith, recreation manager for the town of Taber issued the 2015-2016 Taber Arena season review to the Taber Recreation Board at its April 7 meeting.
It proved a more eventfull season than years past starting off with the installation of the large ice for the VerSet Hockey Camp on July 20. The installation was unique as Taber minor Hockey Association provided eight new mesh logos to be installed along with the town’s giant mesh centre logo. Town staff rented multiple dehumidification machines to try and address humidity concerns from previous years with the hockey camp due to the outside hot weather.
Minor hockey followed with other major stake users soon after, and many compliments were received for the new dressing room colours and the pre-season work that was done throughout the facility during the summer. During that time, the general contractor worked on the renovations of two large dressing rooms and two referee rooms for the Taber Arena.
“This proved to be an adjustment and a challenge at times with restrictions to rooms, areas and the loss of a referee room, however, with a collaborated effort with staff, users and the contractor, the interruptions went very well with not one complaint being filed,” said Smith in his correspondence to the recreation board.
Taber was the site of numerous tournaments for 2015-2016 including a novice tournament, followed by an initiation one in January. In March, the Fading Sons had its tournament, followed by bantam ‘AA’ provincials in which the host Golden Suns won the silver medal, taking its opposition to sudden-death overtime. According to Smith’s report, positive comments from the event were heard throughout town, and e-mailed from other teams that attended who sent kudos to Hockey Alberta.
“I don’t think I had ever seen the arena that packed before in my life,” said Joel Mills, a recreation board member, during discussion period of the arena report, of the fan traffic that was in the arena during ‘AA’ provincials. “It was great to see.”
Another big event was the Taber Figure Skating Club carnival. The small ice was taken out on March 21 and the final hockey event of the season was hosting the 4-on-4 Hockey Tournament, right before the ice surface was removed on March 29.
The 4-on-4 Hockey Tournament faced some controversy a couple of years ago with accusations of abuse of town workers and excessive drinking in unlicensed areas, where town council/administration was debating about shutting the tournament down. But for the last two years including 2016’s version, Aline Holmen, director of recreation noted the tournament has run much more smoothly.
“There were very few issues with the 4-on-4 this year and the ones we had were very minor ones. I’ve heard comments from people that this is one of the youngest crowds the tournament has ever had,” said Holmen. “And they had the attitude of ‘We want to win this thing’ with the prize money as opposed to just having a good time. We still have to spend some time evaluating the whole thing, but I see no big reason why we would stop it.”