Line failure shuts down MRC; two playoff hockey games disrupted

Update: Midget provincial hockey tournament will be unaffected, but the field house and play area in the MRC will be shut down for the duration of the tournament – March 23 through 26.




Joe McWilliams

Lakeside Leader


No worries for Midget provincials, says town manager


One playoff hockey game was in progress and another one was about to start last Tuesday when something went haywire with the power. Lights started flickering, said people who were there; others reported smoke and flames in the vicinity of a transformer box in the parking lot. The place was quickly evacuated for safety reasons.

What had happened, The Leader learned later from town manager Brian Vance, was a cable running underground from the transformer into the building had “burned off.” It left the transformer undamaged, but cut the power to the multi-rec centre.

The good news in the scenario, Vance said, was that there are two such cables carrying power to the facility, and the other one was undamaged. Exactly how much power it could carry was unknown, and a matter for experimentation on Wednesday morning, as crews were being marshalled to attempt a fix on the frazzled companion line.

“One is not capable of carrying the full capacity,” Vance said. “It can keep the ice compressors going and the lights in the reception area. The good news is we don’t have to rebuild the ice.”

This was the first thing on the minds of many people, with a provincial championship hockey tournament coming up on the weekend of the 25th.

The prognosis for fixing the damaged line was a bit “fuzzy,” on Wednesday morning. Vance said this was due to the fact the lines tend to freeze inside their plastic conduits in winter, and can’t be simply pulled out like they can in the summer. So digging is required, and there was some doubt as to how successful that might be. If it wasn’t, Plan ‘B’ called for a splice job, and a temporary cable to run above ground to where it needed to go inside the building.

Vance predicted the temporary fix would be done in a day or two at most. A permanent repair will happen in the summer, he said.

Where this leaves the interrupted Bantam and Novice playoff series was uncertain as of press time. The Novice Thunder were tied 3 -3 with Wabasca when they were pulled off the ice. The Bantams were set to do battle with Westlock in Game 2 of their best-of-three league final series, with the Thunder having taken Game 1 by a 1 – 0 score. That was in Westlock on the Monday night, Mar. 13.

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