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City of Red Deer

Tour the newly renovated Westerner Park Centrium

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From the City of Red Deer and Westerner Park

Preview of renovations almost complete ahead of Team Canada training at Westerner Park Centrium

In 2019, Red Deer City Council approved a $3 million capital request from Westerner Park’s Exhibition Association, which operates the Centrium, as part of its 2020 capital budget to help with renovations needed at the facility.

The City of Red Deer approved $3 million toward a revitalization project that would improve the 1991- era arena’s dressing rooms, concourse and seating.

At the time of budget approval, Tara Lodewyk, General Manager of Planning and Protective Services said “Westerner Park is a huge economic driver in the region. We want it to keep attracting more events, as Red Deer businesses and citizens’ benefit whenever the Centrium brings in various sport, business and cultural attractions.”

Renovations, which are nearing completion, include updating dressing rooms, adding additional railing to the outer edge of the concourse, new modernized LED score clock and signage, and one of the biggest projects, replacing the 30-year-old spectator seats to meet modern facility standards. Westerner Park officials had aimed to complete renovations before hockey players started arriving for the World Junior Championship that were set to run Dec. 26, 2020, to Jan. 5, 2021, which has since been deferred to 2021/2022. Construction during the pandemic occurred more efficiently due to no events being held in the facility, while renovations also provided local economic stimulus by employing local trades.

On September 17, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced that all games for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton, instead of Red Deer, due to COVID- 19 restrictions, without fans in attendance, but will return to Edmonton and Red Deer in 2021.

However, Red Deer is hosting Canada’s best under 20 hockey players ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Forty-seven players will attend a training camp at the Centrium at Westerner Park from November 16 until December 13. The selection camp will include practices and three intrasquad games, as well as six games against a team of sports all-stars, before the team enters the bubble in Edmonton. The Red Deer camp will take place in a cohort bubble and will be closed to the public and the media.

“Not being able to host World Juniors this year was a significant disappointment for many Red Deerians who were anticipating welcoming the international hockey community back to our city,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “I know Red Deer will be ready to welcome the world to our community in 2021/2022, and will actively continue our preparations for this incredible opportunity for our city. This year, we are glad to be able to participate in preparation for the World Juniors by hosting a selection camp bubble at the Centrium.”

“The renovations and upgrades will enhance guest experience at Westerner Park and ensure the comfort and safety for everyone that attends events in the Centrium,” said Mike Olesen, Westerner Park CEO. “The upgrades will also create more interest from national and international events to consider Red Deer and Westerner Park for upcoming events.”

“We’re incredibly excited for hockey fans to experience the bold changes taking place inside our home, the Centrium,” said Merrick Sutter, Sr. Vice President, Red Deer Rebels. “The much needed upgrades provide a fresh, clean look for all guests and events, and further cements the facility as a premiere destination for major events and junior hockey.”

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City of Red Deer

Mike Olesen, CEO of Westerner Park moving downtown to join The City of Red Deer

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Mike Olesen joins City of Red Deer leadership team

There is a new face at The City of Red Deer with Mike Olesen joining The City’s leadership team after four years as the Chief Executive Officer at Westerner Park. Olesen will be taking on the role of General Manager for The City of Red Deer on June 19, 2023.“It is difficult to leave Westerner Park as I believe it is a place of strong connection where I have had the unique opportunity to build community here in Red Deer. But I am also excited about the opportunity to work in local government and to have a different kind of impact in the city where I live and am raising my family,” said Olesen.Prior to working with Westerner Park, Olesen was the senior director for administration and workforce for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. His past experiences include time in Retail Operations for Parkland Fuel Corporation, eleven years at Hockey Alberta in positions ranging from Senior Manager, Operations & Events to Assistant Executive Director, and he holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Royal Roads University.

“I have every confidence Mike will be an invaluable asset to our general management leadership team and to our organization. His drive to build community and the pride for our city aligns with the values of our organization where we put our citizens and businesses at the centre of what we do at The City,” said Lodewyk. “He will be meeting people and learning the many business lines at The City for the first few months as General Manager.  By mid-July he will begin his work leading specific departments.”

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City of Red Deer

Registration for Summer Day Camps and all summer programming begins on Tuesday, May 9

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Red Deerians can prepare to sign up for Summer Day Camps, summer swim lessons and more starting Tuesday, May 9.

New program options are viewable on My Activity Guide on Thursday, May 4, and registration will begin on Tuesday, May 9 at 12:00 noon.

Is your little swimmer ready to sail off to the not-so-salty seas of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre for Shipwrecked? Does your creative kid want to explore the colourful world of visual and performing arts at the Intermediate School? Or perhaps your sporty sprout is ready to take on Sports Extravaganza at the Collicutt Centre. All these camps, and so many more, are included in the summer registration session. Families are encouraged to register their children early to guarantee a spot. Day Camps aim to provide children with an opportunity to play, explore, create friendships and experience time in the pool and outdoors while providing families with quality childcare during summer break.

Summer Day Camps run from July 4 – August 30, 2023 and are available in week-long full or half day options. Additionally, 2-hour teen sport camps are new to the selection this summer. Red Deerians can review camp options now by visiting www.reddeer.ca/DayCamps or by picking up a paper copy of the guide at City arts & recreation facilities.

All other summer programs will also be available for registration beginning on Tuesday, May 9. Red Deerians can create their own custom Activity Guide to review all summer program options at www.reddeer.ca/MyActivityGuide. Programs are viewable in the same fashion as they were in the previously produced paper guide. Customers can create their own custom guide and select categories, age groups and locations relevant to them and their families.

Red Deerians are encouraged to visit their Look’ n Book accounts prior to registration day to ensure access is up to date. For any questions regarding account access please contact Recreation
at 403-309-8411.

Registration for summer programs begins at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9. There are three ways to register for City of Red Deer programs:

  • Online through My Activity Guide at reddeer.ca/MyActivityGuide
  • By phone: 403-309-8411
  • In person at Collicutt Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre, Recreation Centre or
    Michener Centre

To note, we have updated our system to serve our online registrants more efficiently. Confirmation emails will be sent within 24 hours in an effort to reduce the immediate load on our online systems.

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