The City of Fort Saskatchewan has revealed some more information about a theft that occurred at the JRC in mid-February.
On February 13, RCMP say that thieves stole copper from the complex and did about $125,000 in damage to the rink's ice cooling systems.
Grant Schaffer, the director of fleet, facilities, and engineering with the city, says that it is believed that the thieves attempted to extract copper from the pipes of one of the two cooling systems.
"It's the chiller on the ice plant that was damaged, basically the big radiator outside," said Schaffer. "They were trying to get the copper pipes that feed the big radiators, so they cut those pipes."
The damage took one of the rink's two cooling systems offline, leaving the rink with half the power to keep the ice frozen inside the rink.
"They damaged the one side, and we were able to isolate one side from the other, so we have about half the capacity," said Schaffer. "With the ice already in and it being cooler months still, it so far hasn't impacted us to any significant degree."
This does leave the rink vulnerable if a March heatwave sweeps through the region. If the weather continues to be cold, they shouldn't have a problem keeping the ice frozen for the rest of the hockey season.
That being said, either repairs need to be done or a replacement needs to be brought in before they re-install the ice after the summer.
"My understanding is to repair it we have to ship the chiller back to the manufacture to take it apart and put back together and then ship it back," said Schaffer. "That couldn't actually happen until after the ice season is done."
"If timing doesn't work or depending on the cost, it may be more effective to order a brand new one."
Modifications to strengthen the security of the cooling systems have been implemented.
The cost of repairing or replacing the damaged unit will be covered by insurance.