The on-ice season at the Aurora Ford Arena is all over, but before the lights were turned off, there was one last chance to make things look pretty.

Hay River’s recreation department hosted an event called Paint The Ice on April 2. It was a chance for youth to head out onto the ice surface and draw whatever they felt like. Some of the artwork included painted names and underwater sea life; someone even got creative enough to paint a near-perfect copy of the town’s logo.

Sonia Campbell painted this whale on the ice at the Aurora Ford Arena on April 2. Photo courtesy of Courtney Fraser

Courtney Fraser, the town’s recreation programming supervisor, said the day was a huge success with approximately 75 participants dropping in over the course of the day.

“Our Paint the Ice event was inspired by a similar event that takes place annually in Red Deer, Alta., on the Family Day long weekend each February,” she said. “A staff member of ours was familiar with the Red Deer event, which is always a big success, so we decided to bring the idea to Hay River.”

Fraser said the feedback she’s received so far has been nothing but positive and everyone seemed to enjoy the chance to be creative on the ice.

The event was also a chance for the town to recognize all of the athletes who represented the NWT at both the Arctic Winter Games and Canada Winter Games earlier this year. A total of 22 athletes were honoured with a slideshow and each of them was shown with an action shot of their sport.

Some athletes, such as Helene McKay-Ivanko, Keira Coakwell, Jersey Ashton, Kamilah Gostick, Jenna Demarcke, Jack Pettipas, Grayson Groenewegen and Hunter Groenewegen played in both sets of events.

This past ice season was a busy one, said Fraser, but it went smoothly.

“The ice was busy all season with regular user groups including Hay River Minor Hockey, the Hay River Figure Skating Club, the Hay River Speedskating Club, Hay River Rec Hockey, Rusty Blades Oldtimers Hockey and Hazard Women’s Hockey making use of most of the available evening and weekend ice time,” she said. “Public programming times increased in popularity throughout the season, particularly junior shinny and public skating times.”

School groups also made use of the ice this past season, she added, with classes getting the chance to go out and have regular ice times.

Once the painting was completed, Fraser said the ice was melted down and will remain out until October when the new ice gets put in for the new season.

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