A fire that swept through a Kindersley skating rink in January damaged houses and buildings in the surrounding area, although no one was seriously hurt. ((Colin Bevan/Kindersley Airspray))

Skating, dancing and hockey games are back on the agenda of things to do in Kindersley, Sask. following repairs to the local arena.

The complex was very nearly lost in a massive blaze Jan. 8 that consumed a connected hockey rink. The old rink burned to the ground, but firefighters were able to save the newer community complex.

A firefighter with heavy equipment experience hopped into a machine called a track hoe and was able to tear down a portion of the building where the burning rink joined the newer complex.

There was still considerable damage, especially from smoke.

With repairs complete, the local junior hockey team can now practise and play on home ice.

The Kindersley Klippers were set to play their season home opener Saturday night.

"I think everybody realized just how important those arenas are," Sherry Magnuson, the town administrator, told CBC News. "That's really the heartbeat of the community in the winter."

Magnuson said neighbouring communities helped out while the complex was closed.

"We worked with communties around us in the region and we were able to keep a lot of our programs going," she said. "It just meant a lot of travel and extra cost for people for many months and it was a huge impact. We really missed the rinks."