Minor hockey is a pastime some Canadian families could not go without.
Fortunately, for families in the Ottawa Valley, minor hockey registration is now open.
However, depending on where families sign there kids up, parents could be shut out in the cold.
At the Ma-te-Way Centre in the town of Renfrew, just 25 people - players and coaches included - will be allowed in the rink area of the arena.
“As soon as the child is ready to go on the ice, the parent is asked to leave and then come back at the end of the ice time,” says Town of Renfrew Director of Recreation Kevin Hill.
Dressing rooms at the Renfrew arena will be open, but players are being asked to come dressed with as much gear on as possible. Parents can help bring their players into the arena, but then they have to leave, and no lingering.
“Participants will arrive 20 minutes before their ice time and they’ll be expected to leave 20 minutes after their ice time,” says Hill.
There is a similar setup at the Nick Smith Centre in Arnprior, but one parents will enjoy much more.
“Currently we have the ice capacity set at 25,” says Graeme Ivory, Manager of Recreation for the Town of Arnprior. “That includes participants as well as coaching staff and trainers. And we’re also permitting parents into the building at a one to one ratio.”
“We know that that was an area of concern for parents as arenas started to open up, was that they be able to be there to watch their child, and you can certainly appreciate that during these times,” says Ivory.
At most, at the Nick Smith Centre, that’s 50 people in the rink area. Parents and their players will have to enter through one set of doors that lead directly to available dressing rooms, but on a tighter window. Players and parents will only be allowed into the arena 15 minutes before hand, and will be asked to leave within 15 minutes of their ice time ending.
In terms of the action on the ice, it’s not going to be the same, either. Based on guidelines by Hockey Eastern Ontario, teams and players do not have any games scheduled yet, meaning kids will only be practicing and working on skills development.
“I believe that there will be games, it’s just at what time is Hockey Eastern Ontario going to allow the games,” says Hill.
“They will get to a point where they can play some games but it’s certainly going to be much different than what it’s looked like in the past. 3-v-3 and those types of things,” according to Ivory.