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Frog Lake celebrates arena opening

The residents of Frog Lake First Nation celebrated the grand opening of their new multi-purpose hockey arena and administration building on Friday.
Shauna Burke photo

The residents of Frog Lake First Nation celebrated the grand opening of their new multi-purpose hockey arena and administration building on Friday.

Greg Carter, director of operations, welcomed everyone to the Grand Opening Ceremony on behalf of Chief and council of Frog Lake First Nation.

“It is with great pride that we are able to open this new building and modern facility today. Chief and council would like to honour the past twelve terms of chief and council along with the elders for their vision, guidance and leadership in making this magnificent day a reality,” said Carter.

The cost of the building is approximately $14.5 million and was financed through the Royal Bank of Canada and a number of agencies. The completion of the building not only represents a thriving Frog Lake community but also the progress of organizations working together to achieve a common goal, Carter said.

“I know it is only a matter of time before I am announcing the first NHL player from Frog Lake with an arena like this,” said Rod Black, a Canadian sports announcer who was also the master of ceremonies. “Facilities like this are for the children.”

Retired NHL hockey player Bryan Trottier also attended the ceremony to offer his congratulations on the completion of the facility. As a player, Trottier won six Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won another Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche.

“People often ask me if I am part Indian and I reply no I am part white,” joked Trottier at the ceremony. He said the new hockey arena complex impressed him and that the people of Frog Lake had every reason to be proud.

Another crowd favourite was hockey legend Frederick "Chief Running Deer" Sasakamoose, the first Canadian aboriginal player and the first First Nations player in the NHL. After retiring from hockey, he became a band councillor and then chief of Ahtahkakoop Indian reserve in Saskatchewan. He has been involved in the development of sports programs for aboriginal children.

Sasakamoose said the new arena in Frog Lake is a first class facility and it would provide an opportunity for children to participate in sports. People of all ages were soon lined up to collect an autograph.

The celebration was an all day event, beginning with a pancake breakfast and pipe ceremony followed by a flag raising ceremony, the grand march into the arena and guest speeches. After lunch there were dance performances. At 8 p.m. there was a hockey game with the special guests.

“The game is going to be everybody against Bryan Trottier and I still like his chances,” said Black during the afternoon speeches.

The administration building attached to the arena houses chief and council, administration and finance divisions, economic development, membership, education, youth programs, family services and other offices.

The first place winners of the name the building “Frog Lake New Horizon Centre” and logo contest are Destiny Berland, Jody Dufrense and Dayton Quinney.

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