The Nakusp and District Sports Complex has stood as the beacon of youth sports activity in the area for many, many years. But just how committed to an arena has this community been?
Let’s just say it goes back to the 1940s, starting at the very first hockey rink in Nakusp.
The first skating rink was actually a part of the old fair building, where, you guessed it, the annual fall fair and the like were held.
When it wasn’t filled with baked goods, knitting and jellies, the place usually had a hockey team inside of it.
However, over the years and with the snowfalls this area can be hit with, there was plenty of wear and tear. And before anyone listened to the hockey clubs suggestion for repairs, the building finally collapsed in 1949.
But that wouldn’t be the end of the sports arena in Nakusp. Because this was merely used as a catalyst to design a building bigger and better than ever before.
Thus began the saga of the second sports arena for this small village.
The second arena was commissioned in 1952 and the Tory Bros. company began construction right away.
However, this arena would soon follow the trend of its predecessor, and nearing the end of its construction, and for no concrete reasons as to why it happened, the second arena suddenly collapsed.
Luckily, no one was injured during the collapse, as it just so happened to take place a few minutes after noon when all the workers went on their lunch break.
Some have theorized the collapse was the cause of the glue used to hold beams, which was said to be moisture resistant, but not water resistant. There’s also one report of workers releasing cables that tied the arches to the abutments being the cause.
The collapse scared the Tory Bros. as they had 20 other rinks built with the same design.
However, for no reason anyone knows, this building was the only one to collapse.
Fifteen years went by and there still wasn’t an arena in Nakusp. There was an outdoor skating rink, but nothing the hockey teams could use for tournaments and the like.
So, in 1968, the Kinsmen Club of Nakusp made it their duty to raise the funds for a third, and seemingly final design for an arena in the village.
After a combined 12,936 hours of volunteering, the club had raised enough money to commission an arena.
Thus, the third arena in Nakusp history was built.
But, for reasons much more clear than the second building, this one too would fall. But not by winter conditions, but by arson.
No one ever caught who exactly had burned down the building, but witnesses were described as seeing children running out of the building before the fire tore the place down.
It seemed like the village of Nakusp was destined to never have a proper arena that stood for longer than a few years. But all that would change in the final arena we see and use today.
The Nakusp and District Sports Complex has been a part of the community for many years.
It has only gone through upgrades, making the complex more green and energy-efficient than ever before.
As Milt Parent put it, “some communities have trouble even getting one.” Yet, somehow, Nakusp has always pulled together and raised another one.
Hopefully this one doesn’t meet a similar end.