Don’t Take Our Ice

lilhockey.jpgSeems like everyone in Canada knows what ‘hockey’ means to them. Getting up at 3am, stinky gear bags, watching on TV, going to games or even not caring what the heck Don Cherry has to spew from his mouth this Saturday.

We participated in Hockey Day in Canada a few weeks ago, watching CBC coverage and attending a game at GM Place. We also watched as they continued to try and sell the game in Dallas, with their red-carpet All Stars. My husband suggests that they’re trying a ‘shock & awe’ campaign in the States to get more viewers, meanwhile in Canada it’s not about the glitz and glamour, it’s about the sport and the tradition.

One longstanding tradition is community hockey. You’ve seen the Sidney Crosby Tim Bit hockey commercials, and maybe you are even a hockey mom/dad/ beer leaguer or plain ol’ supporter of local participation in the sport. Recently, something threatened a big piece of that in Vancouver: the 2010 Olympic Games.

The city wanted to close two rinks (Killarney & Trout Lake) at the same time to make upgrades and renovations for the games. Local hockey tots and parents were outraged. In a meeting last night, some compromises were made…

The decision was seen as a compromise between two plans that would have either seen Killarney and Trout Lake rinks closed and simultaneously reconstructed during an overlapping season, or have the two projects completed one after the other. Both rinks are slated to be rebuilt for use as practice facilities for the Olympics.

Debate over the closures prompted more than 100 minor hockey players and parents to attend the board meeting at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden. Some held up placards with slogans reading “Don’t take our ice!”

Several minor hockey representatives spoke out in opposition to a park staff recommendation that work on both rinks occur simultaneously, saying there’s already insufficient ice to meet demand. []

Some still aren’t sure if this is good enough and it leaves us all to scoff at the idea of the true “Olympic legacy” the 2010 games will leave us with.

According to a report by parks staff, the demolition and construction of each rink is estimated to take up to 18 months, and both are required to be completed by December, 2009 in time for the Olympics.

The board’s decision calls for work on Killarney to begin as soon as possible, with a scheduled closure in March and completion by September 2008. Trout Lake would be closed in December, five months after the initially proposed closure of August. []

1 Comment so far

  1. CrackerJak (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

    Although unfortunate for people needing ice time over the next 18 months, the City doesn’t have much other choice if they are to be functioning in time for the Olympics. This is also probably the best time for these facilities to be upgraded as far as getting any kind of funding support. It would be harder to claim a need for upgraded facilities for the Olympics after it has come and gone. Ice rinks are not cheap and the City cannot do it without some outside assistance. As far as adding ice rinks, what most people don’t understand is that municipal sports facilities like ice rinks and swimming pools take a loss each year, so to add more rinks in Vancouver would be adding more annual loss. Unless of course those using the facilites are willing to pay substantially more user fees.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am in full support of a healthy lifestyle and it is a long time to be without much needed facilities, but the options are pretty slim for the City. Hopefully in the end the Architects will have created a solid design with the users in mind….hint hint…if you are a user, make sure the design makes sense…not just pretty.

    The other option would have been to leave the facilities as is, which might not be an option for the Olympics.

    I would be curious as to what the people “protesting” suggested would be a better route to take or if they had any other ideas to offer.


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