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Tundra commits support to Bienfait Arena

Tundra donated $100,000 towards upgrades for the ice plant at the arena in Bienfait.
Donation Tundra Bienfait
From left, Bienfait Rink board treasurer Amanda Pukas, president Jesse Juneau, Craig Lane, the vice-president of production operations and community relations for Tundra Oil & Gas, rink board vice-president Ivan Boyer, board member Bill Mann and RM of Coalfields Reeve Richard Tessier participated in the cheque presentation.

BIENFAIT - The Bienfait Memorial Arena has received a considerable investment from Tundra Oil & Gas.

Tundra donated $100,000 towards upgrades for the ice plant at the arena.

Bienfait rink board president Jesse Juneau said the rink board applied through the Tundra Oil & Gas and Richardson Foundation. When repairing the cooler and chiller tank during the hockey season, they heard from an employee of Steel Reef Infrastructure about the foundation.

The Steel Reef employee asked the rink board treasurer to send a letter.

“It was probably a month or two later that we got a phone call that they’re willing to give us a donation, so we were obviously quite excited about that, not knowing how much they were going to donate. They said they would leave it to a surprise until they dropped off the cheque. When they revealed the cheque with all those zeroes, we were happy to see that,” said Juneau.

Juneau said Tundra selected the arena for support because of the number of children who use the rink.

“Anything involving kids is basically top priority for them. They are expanding into Saskatchewan … so they are focusing on getting Saskatchewan more involved with these donations,” said Juneau.  

The ice plant went down in the middle of January due to a problem with the chiller barrel. Other issues followed afterwards.

“It was just three consecutive things that happened individually that made our ice plant go down. At the time, it was quite warm, so we had to actually cancel about two weeks’ worth of ice time. So we got it up and running and basically just patched it together.”

The R-22 refrigerant that they use is very rare and expensive. The Bienfait Rink Board hopes to eventually stop relying on R-22 and improve the plant’s efficiency.

They need a chiller barrel and a couple of compressors to stop using R-22.

“Any time that we have refrigerant loss or anything like that, it’s a big bill because it’s so rare. Not too many people have it, and when they do have it, it’s extremely expensive,” said Juneau.

Juneau said they are confident the ice plant will be functional for next season. Due to the age of the plant, which Juneau said likely dates back to the 1970s, parts and pieces are very hard to find. Retrofitting is what they’re trying to do, because a new plant is around $500,000, and they don’t have that kind of money.

With the money from Tundra and other donations, they have about one-third of the estimated cost of a new plant.

“We’re just getting all of the details and quotes and availability, now that we know how much we can spend.”

They hope to have a fundraiser of some sort in the future.