Andrew Yip

Andrew Yip, whose website Iceman Hockey matches players with scarce ice time, says demand continues to outstrip supply despite the reopening of a southeast Calgary arena. (CBC)

A southeast Calgary arena has reopened after almost a year of renovations, but hockey players say ice times in the city are still hard to come by.

Ernie Starr Arena at 4808 14th Ave. S.E. was fitted with a new concrete arena slab, larger dressing rooms, better lighting and other improvements.

Hockey Calgary says the arena’s reopening will allow some teams to play closer to home and get better game times.

But many teams still have to share the ice for practices, and some adult players are left hunting for times to play.

Andrew Yip runs Iceman Hockey, a website that matches shinny players with ice time.

He said there isn’t enough ice time to meet the demand, forcing older players to take slots late at night.

Ahmed Thraya

Ahmed Thraya, 13, says the newly-renovated Ernie Starr Arena is much better than before. (CBC)

“We're at the brink right now because of lack of ice time but as the winter comes people get more and more ready to play at 11:15, 11:30 — it's the die hards as soon as the snow hits,” he said.

Yip currently has 1,000 people who like to play pickup hockey occasionally but the list just keeps growing, he said.

Hockey mom Leslie Pakish said the best times also cost more.

“Any time after 4 p.m. is considered prime ice, and then your cost doubles,” she said.

But the renovations at Ernie Starr got a good review from 13-year-old hockey player Ahmed Thraya.

"My parents used to not like it here because it was all dark and now they like to come and watch," he said.