While city officials and the Katz Group restart negotiations over a new downtown arena, another downtown rink project is already in operation – and providing a place for dozens of local kids to play safely each day.

The McCauley Rink Project is the brain child of Oilers alumni Ted Green, Al Hamilton and Father Jim Holland of Sacred Heart Church.

The trio raised nearly $200,000 to upgrade the rink – and received a number of donations from local companies to help with the project.

The money went towards repaving asphalt, constructing a trailer on site and supplying equipment necessary for the kids to enjoy activities their families may not otherwise be able to afford.

“They don’t have a lot, but you know, if you give them a place you know they’ll love they’ll respond,” Hamilton said in an interview with CTV News last summer. “It’s pretty heartwarming to be part of it.”

Community response to the rink has been good – with about 30 kids taking advantage of the facility each night – and they said the project is helping to keep them away from drugs and violence.

At times, it’s a totally different job getting the kids off the ice to go home at the end of the night.

“At 9:00, I’ve got to get a tow truck here to get these kids off the ice,” Sparky Kulchisky said. “They just love it here.”

Hamilton told CTV News they have five years to raise enough money to build a permanent structure on the site.

Any donations to the McCauley Rink Project can be made through the Sacred Heart Church.

With files from Adam Cook