Black Press File Photo

Princeton arena should have ice by end of September, but delays frustrate Posse

After weeks of delay – and if everything goes as planned – there will be skating ice in the Princeton arena by Saturday September 28.

According to CAO Lyle Thomas new chilling equipment was installed this week.

“The ice plant renovations are complete and have passed all the testing and are now up and running,” he said.

The improvements come too late to give the town’s Junior B Hockey team an ideal start to the season.

“It’s frustrating when you aren’t able to play in your own facility and play in front of the home crowd,” said head coach Mark McNaughton. “We were supposed to be home for six games at this point.”

In August the Posse learned that a delay in the installation of the equipment would upset the beginning of the season.

The team was unable to hold a traditional fall camp, had to move all practices to Merritt, and reschedule its exhibition games and home opener.

The season home opener planned for Friday September 20 will also be held in Merritt.

Thomas explained the equipment was not delivered on time.

“The alterations were to replace the aging chiller which was 27 years old. The new chiller is state of the art and will be much safer and more efficient.

“Many municipalities are doing the same upgrades and this has put pressure on the manufacturers to supply in a timely manner. We got caught up in the backlog which resulted in a late start.”

Originally McNaughton estimated the setbacks would cost the Posse approximately $12,000, after additional travel costs and lost revenue were considered.

Those costs have risen after deadlines were pushed back a second time, and it’s taken a toll on the team.

“Beyond the natural disappointment for the players I think it’s tough for the community to get on board and get as excited as I think we should be in this town,” he said.

The Posse has already had 24 out of town ice times.

“It’s a lot,” he said. “It’s not only the expense it’s the lost revenue from six home gates.”

The Posse played its first regular season game on the road last Friday and came away with an overtime loss.

Friday’s game against Castlegar – which was supposed to be the home season opener – will be held at the Shulus Community Arena in Merritt at 7 p.m.

A game originally scheduled against Kelowna for Saturday has been postponed until January 29.

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