Kings Peak Credit Union

Fans of Powell River Kings and users of Powell River Recreation Complex will notice a few changes around Hap Parker Arena in the coming days, with more to follow in the next few years.Already in place is the arena’s new score clock, which hangs above centre ice and replaces the old score clock that was attached to the far wall. Soon to come is new bucket seating to match the rest of the arena and replace old concrete benches.

Joe Mastrodonato, on behalf of the Kings, made a proposal to Powell River Community Forest (PRCF) for funds to support the upgrade. PRCF, with the approval of City of Powell River council, agreed to provide money allocated to support the social and economic benefit of the community.

First Credit Union came on board as a partner for the project and agreed to cover the full cost of the score clock, about $46, 000, in exchange for exclusive advertising rights. Marketing Director Sandra McDowell said the credit union became involved with the project to help provide upgrades, which she believes will please the fans and help support not just the Kings but also minor hockey and any other users of the arena.

“It’s a win-win situation for both the community, and all of the hockey families and players, as well as us to be able to have that branding, ” said McDowell.

The first phase of the project includes installation of the clock and replacement of all the bench seating in the arena with plastic bucket seating like that already in place in the majority of sections. The Kings organization has been installing bucket seating for about the past 15 years and this latest round of installations will complete the job. Money from PRCF will be used for this aspect of the work, which Mastrodonato hopes to see completed by Christmas.

Around 500 more individual seats will be added as a result of the work. The overall seating capacity of the arena will go down with the replacement of the bench seating but Mastrodonato said the seats will be an improvement. There has been some lamenting the loss of bench seats, but Mastrodonato said any new arena built today has all bucket seats and that it is now a standard for arenas.

“You watch, when you go to the hockey games, which seats get filled up first, ” said Mastrodonato. “Overall, those centre sections always get filled out first because people want a seat with a back.”

Bill Reid, director of parks, recreation and culture for the city, said that with the upgrades to the seats the city is also adding two more aisles to the facility to meet fire codes. Reid has heard the concerns over losing the benches as well but feels the bucket seats are a step forward.

“Aesthetically, it’s going to look a hell of a lot better and more professional and just gives a boost to the facility, ” he said.

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