Recent History – 1998
By Rick Davison, Daily News Staff, Oct. 5, 1998
“An arena is more than a building, it’s the hub of the community and represents the spirit of a northern town like Dawson Creek”, said Dawson Creek Mayor Blair Lekstrom.
Lekstrom spoke at the opening ceremonies and rededication of the city’s Memorial Arena, 21 months after a roof collapse of the building made it unsuitable for use.
On Saturday night, about 600 city residents gathered to officially re-open the sports building with a long history of serving the city of Dawson Creek.
Lekstrom said it’s a place where residents gather in the dead of winter to play sports and the hot days of summer for occasions such as graduations, trade shows and musical performances. And he and the residents of the Mile Zero City should know.
Athletes were restricted to using one arena for the past year and a half when the roof of the Memorial Arena came down on January 8, 1997, a night when the temperature had dipped to -30 C.
Since then it’s been a collective effort as city staff, municipal politicians, engineers and contractors have pitched in and rebuilt the structure. And with the revamped arena comes a new appreciation for the building and importance it plays in the community.
“People have a whole new respect for the arena,” Lekstrom told the gathered people.
“It’s first-class facilities like this that make people want to relocate to our city.”
But one also shouldn’t forget why the building is called the Memorial Arena. Without the ultimate sacrifice that Peace Country residents made in two World Wars the life we know today wouldn’t be possible, added Lekstrom.
“Without their sacrifice we wouldn’t have the freedom that we enjoy today,” said the Mayor prior to the rededication of the commemorative plaques by members of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Lekstrom also took time to recognize the various sport groups who use the facility and the parents and volunteers who spend countless hours involved with those user groups.
After the opening ceremonies, another 900 people joined the crowd to watch the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks play the Slave Lake Wolves, a game the Canucks won 8-7.