The Okotoks Oilers are celebrating a different kind of victory.
On Monday, town council voted in favour of removing a portion of the black netting around the Pason’s Green Arena.
Several options were presented, with council’s decision involving removing a portion of the netting in front of the press box only, and installing 8’ glass panels in place of the current 6’ panels in that section.
An agreement on risk mitigation still has to be reached, and the Oilers would pay for half of the cost.
It’s something the Oilers have been working on for a few years now, with the Oilers’ assistant general manager of business operations Tyler King taking the reins on those efforts for the last year or so.
The Oilers’ main grievance with the netting was that it severely affected the filming of games, with crews really having no workaround for the thick black net in between the ice and the press box.
Their reasoning was that a majority of AJHL teams do not have protective netting along the sides of their rinks and that the danger posed by removing a portion would be minimal.
With a portion of the net gone, King says Okotoks will have a much easier time pitching the Pason as a host venue.
“One of the biggest things for us is trying to get more national events like we had earlier this summer with the Esso and Telus cups, and if we host those events through the more traditional method, where we’re not an emergency location like we were for these ones, not only do you get a longer lead up time to organize it, but the home team automatically gets a berth for that tournament.”
He says players stand to benefit too.
“It’s going to make it a lot easier to market hockey players that come through this community, whether that’s players on current AAA teams looking to move to AJHL or WHL, female U18 players who are trying to get to the university level, it’ll be much much easier for us and those teams to market those players when they have better video quality, when there’s a better presentation possible.”
A timeline has yet to be determined.