The Fernie Memorial Arena has been closed for nearly three months. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sask. residents help B.C. town get back on the ice after arena disaster

Residents of Wilkie, Sask., are voting for Fernie in the Kraft Hockeyville competition

Towns across Canada are voting for the community they think deserves $250,000 in upgrades to a local ice rink, as a part of the Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Look back: Locals nominating Fernie Memorial Arena to win $250,000 in upgrades

Despite being nearly 600 kilometres away, some people living in the town of Wilkie, Sask., say instead of voting for their own town, they will vote for Fernie instead.

The Fernie Memorial Arena has been closed for nearly three months.

“Fernie, B.C. has a tragic story,” read a post from a Wilkie, Sask., Facebook page on Jan. 9. “Three of the rink workers were killed from a ammonia leak in their rink. Their hockey teams now are using local rinks to play in, and Memorial Arena in Fernie, B.C. remains empty and not usable.”

“Wilkie, Sask and area, round up the troops!” it continued. “We’ve suffered a loss and been displaced before, now it’s our turn to help them skate on their home ice again!”

In 2015, a fire almost destroyed Wilkie’s community centre. It took them two long years to rebuild, and according to locals, this process was not easy.

This past summer, they were able to step back into their community centre for the first time.

“Our hockey teams and curlers and back doing what they love… it’s a tremendous feeling!” says Kathy Heilman, a Wilkie resident who helped rally support for Fernie, in a Facebook message to the Free Press.

This post received much support and thanks from residents in the Elk Valley.

“Can’t thank you enough,” read a response.

So far, the Fernie rink has garnered 58 stories, 80 notes and 48 pictures on the contest website.

To cast your vote, visit

Just Posted

Award-winning harmonica player transforms instrument on stage

Carlos del Junco plays Upstairs Lounge Friday March 23

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Piano campaign purchases piano and more for Oak Bay theatre

Surplus funds sound mixer and console for Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

Latitude 48 Paddling Club races through Victoria waters

Local team clinched victory in Nanaimo to kick off season that will see them compete in Hawaii

Greater Victoria police busy with St. Patrick’s Day calls

Victoria police respond to 82 calls for service

Monterey student sale a swarming success

Community shows up in record number for middle school event

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Most Read