Community Stories

Breaking records and barriers

February 16, 2019

Breaking records and barriers; Red Deer builds a first

Setters Place at Great Chief Park is a record-breaking facility. It is the first in North America to build an ice oval on top of artificial turf, and that ice oval is being used to break records in long track speed skating during the first week of the Canada Winter Games.

The ice oval is unique. It has the surface area of four NHL hockey rinks and the water volume of approximately 50 hockey rinks. Building the ice surface took over two and a half weeks with a team of dedicated City staff flooding the ice in a careful and prescribed way depending on the daily temperatures. Staff accomplished what had never been done before, and did it well.

“Red Deer has demonstrated an innovative spirit, tenacity, and dedication in working through some initial challenges in building the ice,” said Deb Comfort, Neighbourhood Facilities & Community Development Supervisor. “Now we can celebrate this accomplishment and share it for the benefit of the Canada Winter Games the athletes.”

Athletes who have practiced on the ice say it is very fast and is in excellent condition for competition. Word about this new ice surface has traveled across the country, and the City of Red Deer has received calls from a number of municipalities across Canada wanting to learn about what we have built. 

“The ice quality at the Setters Place ice oval is second to none. This one-of-a-kind facility has some of the fastest outdoor ice times for speed skating.  We expect records will be set and personal bests broken during the Long Track Speed Skating events,” said Comfort.

Citizens of Red Deer can be proud to have this world-class facility right in their backyard.  The Setters Place Pavilion, synthetic regulation sized sports fields, and 400m outdoor natural ice speed skating oval were built as a legacy to the 2019 Canada Winter Games and will serve athletes from the area and the country for years to come. 

For information on the sporting event schedules visit