The arena where the famed Sutter brothers
learned the game of hockey on their way to the NHL.
The name Carena stems from the original Viking arena which began construction in 1951. In order to fund the estimated $60,000 to construct an arena in Viking a raffle was held. With only 5000 tickets being available and costing $10 each, the organizers bought 12 cars as prizes. One ticket was drawn each month for a year with the winner taking home one of the twelve cars. Once expenses were accounted for, the initial raffle managed to raise $20,000 plus another $10,000 in donations. Still falling short of the mark, another raffle with monthly prizes of cars was organized. As the raffle continued, the new arena was nicknamed the CAR-ena due to the innovative fundraising that helped with its construction.
Over the years, the Carena has served as a focal point for the Viking community and provided many opportunities for youth to participate in hockey and skating. The Sutter brothers
, six of whom played in the NHL, grew up learning the game in the old Carena. Other notables who spent time on the Carena ice include Glen Sather
of New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers fame, Cory Clouston
, who was the head coach of the Ottawa Senators, Dean Antos
, who captained Northern Michigan University to a NCAA Frozen Four Championship, and famed curler Kevin Martin
played hockey in Viking.
In the summer of 2005 a devastating fire gutted the old Carena and left Viking without a rink. For the small town with a population of 1000, winter revolves around the Carena and families were forced to drive their children to practices in other towns. The absence of a rink took its toll on the community and strengthened the resolve and commitment to rebuilding the Carena. The town set about creating a plan to build a facility that the community could once again be proud of and offer youth the opportunity to learn to skate and play hockey. In 2007, the stage one of the building was opened and with strong support from the community, it was named the Carena to continue the legacy and history lost due to the fire. Later in 2008, stage two was completed which included the library, meeting room, fitness centre, walking track and playschool.