The C.J. Dyck Arena was officially opened with this ribbon cutting in the redesigned community centre on Jan. 26. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)
Renovations complete, Plum Coulee’s arena and community centre had a grand reopening ceremony and a new name on Jan. 26.
The C.J. Dyck Arena celebrated the newly renovated facility, as members of the Dyck family gathered to honour his contribution.
The $1.2 million renovation project became necessary after a fire damaged the facility in May of 2016.
Rhineland Reeve Don Wiebe said they’re still doing the final sorting out of what will be covered by insurance and what taxpayers will pay.
“We have received a $300,000 donation from the C.J. Dyck estate,” Wiebe said. “That made it possible, particularly the cost of the concrete ice surface.”
“There will still be a contribution from the local taxpayers and the municipality, but it will be a very manageable amount,” Wiebe said.
Dyck passed away before the fire took place, but those who knew him said he had a special place in his heart for the arena. He was often on hand to help tie skates and was known to purchase skates for those who had none.
Wiebe said having the arena operating again this season is not just a great joy for Plum Coulee.
“It’s also a great relief to the rest of the region,” he said, pointing out Winkler uses the ice for their minor hockey program. “They were struggling last year finding ice all over the region. Now we’re back and we’re glad they’re back because it really helps to cover the operating costs,” he said.
Renovations saw the introduction of the concrete ice surface. The old arena lobby was changed to incorporate four larger dressing rooms with shower facilities.
The community hall was completely gutted and the kitchen and washrooms were moved to make a more user friendly space.
LUD chair June Letkeman spoke highly of C.J. Dyck, saying he would be overwhelmed if he was here today.
“He would be so happy,” she said. “As a matter of fact I can just see him smiling down on us.”
Letkeman said it was a surprise when they learned he had left so much money to the arena, but after the fire it became very important.
“He would be so proud of us that we used it in this way,” she said. “He left a legacy.”
Letkeman said she remembers his love of children and how proud he was of all his foster children overseas. “He was just the most generous and loving kind of guy,” she said.
C.J.’s sister Agatha Gerbrandt said his gift made sense. “He was always very supportive of the hockey rink,” she said.
Gerbrandt said she wasn’t expecting to see his name on the building.
“I was surprised but very glad,” she said.