It’s all business at the Moose Jaw Events Centre, as they continue preparations for the 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Championships.  

It was just over six weeks ago that it was announced that Moose Jaw and the events centre would play host to this world event from May 28 to June 4. 

It’s not as easy as putting a few logos on the ice and adding some banners, a lot of preparation is needed to make the facility accessible to the para-athletes.  

The events centre general manager, Ryan MacIvor, and his team have been hard at work to get the ice surface and facility ready for when the teams arrive.  

“It’s full steam ahead," says MacIvor. "We’ve cleaned the venue, after wrapping up the [Moose Jaw] Warriors season and we’re in the process of doing some minor repairs and some of that housekeeping aspect related to the building.” 

Over the last few days, the staff has been shaving the ice surface down to basically the concrete surface to prepare for Hockey Canada, International Ice Hockey Federation, and sponsorship logos and then have it be resurfaced.  

That’s not the only thing going on within the Moose Jaw Events. MacIvor says that the benches are in the process of being retrofitted with para-accessible dasher boards for the athletes. 

“It’s a smooth transition from the ice level onto the rubber matting. That transition is taking place this week. Over this coming weekend, we’re going to clean up all the dasher boards, where we take off all the puck marks to make them clean and clear.” 

The para-accessible dasher boards will be installed within the player benches and the penalty boxes and will be see-through to allow the athletes to watch the play.  

In addition, synthetic ice will be installed in those two locations and in the runways onto the ice.  

When it comes to entering and exiting the dressing rooms the same sort of process is required for the athletes.  

“For those we have 4x8 sheets of puck board where we will line that vomitory out to dressing room hallway where the athletes will pre-load and skate on the puck board out onto the ice.” 

With all the work that has been and will be completed in the coming days, MacIvor believes the ice surface will be event-ready by Wednesday of next week.  

This is good news as Team Canada is expected to arrive on May 20, while Korea is expected to get to Moose Jaw on May 19. The remaining six teams will begin to trickle in between May 24 and 25.  

“Most of the teams arrive in Regina, there is a team flying into Calgary and bussing, and there is a team flying into Saskatoon and bussing. It’s just been the coordination of the international flights, availability, load factors, and baggage. Traveling with a hockey team internationally is a feat but then you must add on the complexities of all the baggage that comes along with it but then you must add on the complexities of the accessibility side.” 

Tournament packages are still available to be purchased for the event. With it kicking off in just over two weeks, MacIvor says that excitement is building.  

“From Hockey Canada’s perspective, they’re very pleased with where we are with ticket sales. I think ticket prices and packages are extremely fair and affordable for families and such.” 

Canada will be joined by the United States, Czechia, Korea, Germany, China, Italy, and Norway, who all will embark on the Moose Jaw Events Centre for the world championship event.      

The boys in red and white will kick off their world tournament on May 29 against Korea at 7:00 p.m. and a rematch of the gold medal game at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games with Canada and the United States on May 31 at 7 p.m. MT.    

The preliminary-round schedule is highlighted by the first game of the tournament between Czechia and Korea at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 28.  

All 20 games, including the gold medal game on June 4 at 7 p.m. MT, will be played at Moose Jaw Events Centre.