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Beacon Hill ice rink iconic to NHL pros

Located in Beacon Hill, the Frank Lacroix Arena is one of the various municipal hockey rinks in the Fort McMurray area.

As home to many winter sports athletes, the ice rink is regularly frequent by residents and league competitors who travel to the community to play hockey, ringette, curling and broomball, as well as perform figure skating.

In the summer, the arena has also hosted boxing, fencing, judo, karate, lacrosse, table tennis, taekwondo, and wrestling tournaments.

According to Fort McMurray Tourism, the facility has 35,562 square foot of space and contains two wheelchair-accessible floors. It can hold up to 400 spectators which have come to watch league games, medal rounds and league finals.

The Fort McMurray Minor Hockey League utilizes the space for regular games and tournaments. Other facilities include the Casman Centre, MacDonald Island Park and the Anzac Recreation Centre.

The arena is also well-known as the place where local younger hockey players start out with aspirations to one day make it to the Casman Centre to wear the Oil Barons jersey. And then, move on to play in the National Hockey League.

It happened for Fort McMurray native and professional hockey player Scottie Upshall. He has appeared in 759 career games with the Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and, most formerly, the St. Louis Blues.

In May 2016, Upshall spoke about his first days on the ice at the Frank Lacroix Arena in an interview with Sportsnet, who asked him about his thoughts on the wildfire taking place in his hometown.

“I grew up in Thickwood Heights. Right near the arena where I won a Royal Bank Cup. Literally, the arena I grew up in,” he told Sportsnet. “The first arena I ever skated in was called the Beacon Hill Arena (now known as the Frank Lacroix Arena). Man, I can still remember the smell of that place. I’m told Beacon Hill is completely gone.”

The results left 80 percent of the homes in Beacon Hill’s sub-division completely destroyed. However, the arena survived. And today, young players continue learning how to skate on the ice at 155 Beaconwood Road.

The Frank Lacroix Arena receives 4.6 stars out of five on Google reviews.

Guest Jagjit Dhillon received the arena with a five-star rating mentioning it as a home base to minor hockey and “it contributes huge to the community.”

In 2018, the Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games hosted several events at the Frank Lacroix Arena; including the ringette tournaments and figure skating competitions. Over 2,800 participants came to compete in 22 sporting events from the Games, which took place in 11 different venues throughout the Wood Buffalo region.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo recently announced its Game host title for the 2022 Arctic Winter Games. Athletes from across the globe will be competing at this iconic ice rink. For updates and upcoming events at the Frank Lacroix Arena, visit their Facebook page.

Dawn Booth

Managing Director at Media Booth
Dawn Booth is a freelance journalist and owner of Media Booth, a marketing and communications business in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Learn more at www.mediabooth.net.
Dawn Booth

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