Ice time at the Winkler arena is going to be hard to come by this winter, but the local users are doing their best to make it all work.

A fire this past May, and ongoing repairs and renovations, have rendered the Plum Coulee arena closed for the upcoming season, creating a problem for Winkler Minor Hockey teams that used the out-of-town facility for practice and games.

"Well it's definitely going to be a big struggle for us," explained Winkler Minor Hockey president Ed Penner. "With the Plum Coulee rink available in the last few years, it has already been a struggle and we've had a shortage of ice. We have found it tough to grow the program because we are pretty much at max capacity with Plum Coulee. This year it's going to be extra hard on us and going to take a lot of extra time to make it work this year."

Penner did mention they are looking at a number of possible solutions, but nothing is set in stone at this moment. Meanwhile the Winkler Skating Club is doing what they can to open up more ice time for the roughly 180 kids who are part of Winkler Minor Hockey.

"It doesn't affect the Winkler Skating Club as much as Minor Hockey. We do have all of our ice time at this point," said Winkler Skating Club president Leala Kuhl. "We do want to try and work with minor hockey and give them more ice time. We would try to get more coaches on our ice, during a shortened time frame, so more girls could get lessons during that time. This would condense our time, and give minor hockey an extra forty-five minute here or there, where we can help them out a little bit."

Penner noted they are under the impression the situation should only last a year, but if it does stretch longer they will have to make do as best they can.

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