Namao held the official opening of the Jack Speers Community Rink on Saturday (Jan.12).
 
The project took about seven years to complete and cost just over $150,000.
 
The old ice rink was located by Namao School and had a very old building attached to it that the school frequently used. However, the building was becoming a hazard, so the school requested it be torn down.
 
In the beginning, the project was led by the rink's namesake, 87-year-old Jack Speers, along with the current head of the Namao Rink Committee, Daniel Low.
 
"Jack kind of took me under his wing and mentored me to get the rink going," said Low. "He's always been a big part of the community."
 
Speers grew up in Namao and was well known to be a hard-worker and avid volunteer. It wasn't until he was almost 90-years-old that he stepped back and let Low take care of building the new rink. He passed away in 2017.
 
The committee applied for several grants to raise funds for the rink. Sturgeon County, the Alberta government, Providence Grain and Pembina Pipelines all chipped in with their own donations.
 
The community itself gave a large push towards completing the rink, with area residents donating around $14,000. Everyone who donated had their name written on a hockey puck and put on display in the new building.
 
Low and the seven or eight other committee members worked tirelessly to complete the construction of the rink. Some days, they would spend ten hours working outside in freezing temperatures.
 
"It's kind of hard because the best time to build the ice right off the hop is like -30 C. So we'll put on all the snow gear and just go to town on trying to get the rink done," Low recalled.
 
With the rink only recently completed, it has already been put to use. The school plans to utilize it during all six blocks in the school day. Low also mentioned that he has seen up to 30 people go out in the middle of the week to play hockey.
 
"It's just a very community-involved rink."
 
Low now remains in charge of running and maintaining the rink.
 
It is located in the same spot.

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