Trail Memorial Centre staff was busy assembling the new scoreboard for the Cominco Arena this week. Once all the assembly and electrical work is completed

Trail Memorial Centre staff was busy assembling the new scoreboard for the Cominco Arena this week. Once all the assembly and electrical work is completed

New scoreclock for Trail Memorial Centre

Trail's Cominco Arena gets updated system for hockey games

The Trail Memorial Centre’s Cominco Arena new time clock and scoreboard will soon be raised to the rafters and a farewell has already been given to the former glitchy and expensive video version.

“The biggest improvement over the old scoreboard is that it comes from a Canadian manufacturer who can ship parts quickly and at competitive prices; the controller should be more user friendly and I expect scorekeepers will appreciate that,”said deputy director of Trail Parks and Rec, Robert Baker.

The scoreboard came in at just under $40,000, and will be a reliable and functional replacement for the former $190,000 video-scoreboard that hung in the arena since 2005. The new addition, made by OES Scoreboards, measures 10-feet by five-feet, with 10-inch LED digits for the time and score, and seven-inch digits for penalty, player, period, and shots on goal, and a back-lit panel for advertising above.

The former video scoreboard was paid for by a $283,000 Olympic Legacy grant that was part of a $530,000 Cominco Arena upgrade in 2005 that also included new glass, heating and sound system, and 2,300 theatre-style seats. The scoreboard was a luxury considering the relatively small market but made affordable because of the grant. And when working, the video element was certainly a highlight, especially when it came to watching events like the World Junior A Challenge in 2007, various fight nights, Kootenay Chrysler Bull-a-Ramas, and replays during Trail Smoke Eater games.

“It was a big thing because of the T.V. screens,” said Tiger Milburn, long-time arena announcer. “I thought it was really good, because sometimes they’d have a guy get a penalty, and they’d have a little thing on there about being in the sin-bin, and that was really neat, and that’s what I liked about it, but they just seemed to have a lot of trouble with that clock.”

As time ticked away, the clock and scoreboard became less and less reliable. It started to malfuntion, and parts were difficult and expensive to come by with its only source from the original fabricator and installer based in Florida.

“The digits and controller were on our five-year plan for replacement,” said Baker. “We wanted to avoid a mid-game interruption, so we replaced the scoreboard pro-actively. The video screens were turned off a couple of years ago, like any piece of audio/video equipment the screens had a lifespan of 7-10 years, and certain components had failed.”

The city sold the previous clock to the Beaver Valley Arena, but resale was not an option. To replace the video screens or the existing structure was neither feasible nor economical, added Baker.

“Given that the old cabinet and equipment was custom made, and had old technology with failing electronics, I’m not sure if the old clock had any resale value. Moreover, it was oversized and would not fit in a typical community arena. It was dismantled and recycled.”

Arena and city staff began installation Tuesday in anticipation of the ice going in for the Champions Hockey School in August.

Trail City Council okayed the project in April alotting $50,000 to the new clock and its installation.

OES Scoreboards parent company was founded in 1980 initially providing technology support for a variety of markets including environmental, healthcare, vehicular, agricultural, and defence industries. Eventually, the London, Ontario company diversified into three markets: OES Technologies, OES Electronic Manufacturing, and OES Scoreboards. The company now caters to all sporting venues from elementary schools to professional arenas and stadiums globally with independent distributors in 12 countries including one in Surrey.

“OES Scoreboards have a decent reputation and are gaining market share, probably due to their competitive pricing,” said Baker. “They haven’t been around as long as Daktronics or Nevco, but seem to be holding their own when it comes to reliability. Butler Park has an OES Scoreboard, and it’s working well.”