The Lions Winter Classic was fun for everyone. Here the group of players that enjoyed a day of hockey at Haldane Park gather for a fun photo. Courtesy Photo

IROQUOIS – In Iroquois, the new outdoor rink, rink shack at Haldane Park officially opened on Sun., Feb. 6.

The popular local park and rink have been a longstanding community feature in Iroquois.

The old rink shack needed to be replaced.

The challenge was who would pay for a new shack during a time of austerity when it comes to financial commitments from municipalities. This was not a South Dundas issue but one shared in municipalities throughout Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

In the end, a partnership between the South Dundas and various private interests in the community got the job done.

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds explained a little bit of the history behind the skate shack.

“A number of years ago we had an old building here that was built in seaway times.”

He said it did the job it was intended to but over time it naturally aged and needed repairs.

“Fixing it up was no longer the right way to go,” he said.

The municipality looked at several options of what to do and how they would do it; cost was an issue.

“I met with Ron Swank and his family over another issue and Ron mentioned that he would like to put a project together to rebuild the rink shack here.”

“It was a great idea,” said Byvelds, “I brought it to council and council agreed to allow him to spearhead the project along with numerous contributors. From my point of view, it was a good community project.”

Ron Swank of Swank Construction Ltd. has been an avid supporter of projects in his community.

“He thought this was a great project for Swank Construction to take on,” said Swank.

“I grew up in this town and my family spent numerous hours on this rink as a kid and now my children have grown up and my grandchildren play on this rink.”

He said it was special to be able to give something back to their community.

Swank remembered that the moment he knew he was going to move forward with the project he called on Jamie Thompson of Thompson Timber Mart.

Without hesitation Jamie said, “I am all in, whatever you need just let me know,” said Swank.

“From there I went and approached some other businesses outside the area.”

Swank was joined by: Thompson Timber Mart, Lloyd McMillan Equipment, Bill’s Towing & Recovery, Cornwall Roof Truss, Rick McKee Painting, Merkley Energy Solutions, Gentek Windows, Stonegate Architectural Services and Locke’s Rentals & Welding and South Dundas staff.

The construction took about two months from beginning to end.

After the opening of the ice shack the day’s other big event got underway; the South Dundas Lions 2022 Winter Classic featuring U-9 players.