ICE School finds new home

By Kelli Gustafson –

Rogers Place Assistant Manager of Engineering, Jason Rimmer, talks to students at ICE School’s new location inside Rogers Place.
Photo by: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers

“How do you keep ice cold inside a warm facility?”

This was just one of the many questions that students from Suzanne Prefontaine’s grade six class from Holyrood School were quizzed on during a unique and informative lesson given by Rogers Place Assistant Manager of Engineering, Jason Rimmer.

Marking its 15th year operating — and first year at Rogers Place — ICE School is one of 14 Inquiring Minds sites in Edmonton, where students have the opportunity to learn in a hands-on and interactive environment.

“ICE School is one of the programs supported by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF),” explained ICE School Teacher and Program Coordinator Diane Gurnham. “It started 14 years ago at Rexall Place and this year we’ve moved over to Rogers Place and built a new classroom on the southwest corner of the arena.”

After showing students the software used to control the arena’s ice plant on a digital screen at the front of the classroom, Rimmer took the students on an exclusive tour where they then got to see the ice plant first-hand.

“ICE School brings classes from their school — for an entire week — to Rogers Place, where they put what they learn every day at school into real world understanding,” said Gurnham.

With the chance to teach and learn outside of the traditional classroom setting, both teachers and students are offered an opportunity to make meaningful connections through an enhanced curriculum.

“I think it’s a really neat experience, it’s a cool way to do hands-on learning,” said Grade 6 student Elizabeth Friel, after touring the Rogers Place ice plant.

“Moving to Rogers Place has been a brand new experience and it’s been really fun,” added Gurnham. “Our program is completely different than it was at Rexall Place because there are so many new and exciting things to do here.”

Besides learning about the ice plant and other behind-the-scenes details of the venue, students practice their math skills — estimating how many colourful tiles make-up the mosaic in Ford Hall — and learn directly from professionals throughout the building.

“Even the players — like Connor McDavid — sometimes come to visit our classroom!” exclaimed Gurnham.

Each year, ICE School welcomes elementary classes (grades 1-6) from Edmonton Public and Edmonton Catholic Schools. For more information on ICE School and how to apply, CLICK HERE.