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'We want to make a rink that's very contemporary': Indoor roller rink set to open in Calgary by end of 2023

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It's currently a massive space under construction but soon, it will become Calgary's newest indoor roller skating facility.

The project is spearheaded by Theresa Tucci and Roxy Janzen, who also co-own Calgary Roller Skate.

"What we're really excited for in this space is we really want to make a roller rink for the 21st century," Janzen said.

"We want to make a rink that's very contemporary, that's current, that's exciting for people right now in 2023, and that's going to be with music, with what we're planning for the lighting and it's just going to be an overall experience that people can really get into."

The name of the new facility is House of Skate, but the sign isn't up yet.

The building used to house Frank Sisson's Silver Dollar Action Centre and more recently, the Century Casino.

"House of Skate is basically your house," Tucci said.

"We're representing old to new. We're having a touch of nostalgia but at the same time, very music-centric types of nights, so it's appealing to different generations. A lot of theme nights, different things -- we're just bringing in something new and fresh but on wheels that we all love."

The two are advocates of the sport and miss Calgary's three roller rinks that are all out of business, with the last one closing in 2019.

"We used to have Hollywood Roller Gardens, Roller Land in the northeast and Lloyd's, and the last rink closed after six decades," Tucci said.

"When our last rink closed, we couldn't let it die. We wanted to create something for the community, so we started doing pop-ups in different places where we rent and rent out skates."

Janzen says roller skating saw a resurgence in Calgary during the pandemic, with people looking for new activities to occupy their time, and it hasn't slowed.

"We all have jobs and people to take care of and bills to pay and life gets stressful," she said.

"When you're on your wheels and you're just going, all that fades away and you can just be in that moment and I think people really need that."

The two have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help them raise $125,000 for a maple floor to skate on and more.

"The majority of the money actually goes into what you don't see -- electrical, HVAC, all of your inspections. Things you wouldn't even think about are shockingly expensive," Tucci said.

"We're going to open with a floor but the best skate experience is if you grew up in Calgary, it was that beautiful maple floor that you saw at Lloyd's and we want the same flooring, so we're asking people just pre-purchase some perks with us.

"It's been phenomenal. We've made about 20 per cent of our goal."

Janzen says she's always hearing stories from Calgarians about how they would go roller skating for birthday parties in the past or met their spouse at the rink.

She says it seems many people have fond memories of Calgary's old roller skating rinks.

"And I think that if every person who has a story like that put $1 into our crowdfunding campaign, we would have that maple floor and it'll be here for people," Janzen said.

You can learn more about the crowdfunding campaign at houseofskate.ca.

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