Skip to main content

Cote First Nation takes pride in new $17 million arena

Cote First Nation, Sask. -

Over 400 people celebrated the grand opening for the new $17 million rink facility on Cote First Nation on Wednesday.

"It was a great day today for our nation,” Chief George Cote said with great pride. “It was really great to see all of the visitors to come celebrate with us and it was such a wonderful feeling knowing how much the community really cares about this."

The facility is replacing the nation’s older rink, which stood ground for more than half a century.

In addition to the new NHL size arena, the space will provide a walking track, a weight room, a kitchen, and various meeting rooms which will be open all year-round.

“We can have meetings in regards to health and conditioning,” Cote said.

“Our plan is to have the rink open all year-round so that we can continue to put ice programs on and possibly have a hockey academy with the school.”

Because the project was funded entirely by the community, members have a lot of pride for the new rink, Cote added.

"It carries more pride when you don't rely on government funding to build a facility like this,” he said. “Especially when it's for the youth and the betterment of our nation, in regards to health and restoration."

The hockey community in Cote First Nation has been going strong for decades as it is home to former Team Canada Olympic athlete Brigette Lacquette.

"My family and I, we had access to the ice my dad made in the winter, and the next nearest indoor rink was probably about 45 to 50 minutes away,” Lacquette expressed.

“To see this, it's so awesome, to have access to this first class facility is awesome. As a First Nations person, I feel as though we’ve always been a step behind, or feeling like it, the hockey world that I’ve come up in, it makes me very proud. I’m very proud to be from here and very proud of what our leadership is doing.”

Currently, Lacquette is a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. She said she hopes she can visit Cote in the future and potentially skate with youth in her home community.

“Hockey was a great vehicle for myself throughout my life, it definitely teaches you a lot of life qualities that you can use,” Lacquette said. “To have this for the kids, maybe to even come back and come skate with them too is very exciting.”

Another athlete from the area of Keeseekoose First Nation said he grew up playing hockey with kids from Cote, and knows that the next generation will benefit from the new facility.

“Being able to have the opportunity to skate and develop, it’s going to bring up a lot of superstars in the next generation,” Kishaun Gervais, semi pro hockey professional for Tusla Oilers, said.

“Being able to see a lot of these young kids look up to a lot of people, like Brigette and myself, it’s really cool and for them to be able to have the same opportunity with this being built, I’m excited to see it happen.”

Although the project was estimated to cost $15 million back in 2022, Chief Cote said expenses increased within the two years of completion.

“We started off with a budget of $15 million, it went up to about $17 and a half (million),” he said. “It was a community incentive, we used our own resources to build this facility.”

During the celebration, various gifts were presented to Cote First Nation, including a Buffalo painting from Yorkton Tribal Council, a $20,000 donation for arena upgrades made by Seko Construction, and others. Top Stories

Stay Connected