Some community rinks will be open for use within guidelines

This winter, some leagues will open their community rinks, with health protocols in place.

The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) collaborated on a document with COVID-19 health guidelines for rink use. These guidelines were developed with advice from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and reviewed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s team. Those guidelines may change depending on the pandemic situation. 

Overall, leagues must follow public health guidelines and disinfect any shared equipment after use. Guidelines also include how many people can be on the ice rink at a time, depending on the activity.

Only 10 people can gather for community skating (free skating activities) on a rink and no organized sports are allowed until otherwise stated. This limit is in place until Dec. 15. Contact your league for information after that date. 

These restrictions also mean that no one can use rink shacks or amenities such as indoor bathrooms because restrictions require leagues and community centres to close for in-person services.

Other basic guidelines include not touching your eyes, nose, or face; physically distancing; washing your hands thoroughly; using your own equipment and water bottles; and staying home if you’re feeling unwell. 

Kate Wilson, Eastwood Community League’s facility coordinator, says, “We’re keeping the ice surface open, only. The actual rink building is now officially closed to the public…people can use the [outdoor] benches. As per usual, we’ll have a staff person there during all public skate times.” 

The Eastwood rink hours are Wednesday to Friday from 4 to 9 pm, Saturdays from 11 am to 9 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm. 

Wilson adds, “We’ve installed a new outdoor PA system, with two directional speakers mounted on the east side of the rink. Come out to skate to your favourite playlist or the top 40 on the radio. Rentals are welcome, Mondays and Tuesdays, or any other time outside the regular hours.”

Spruce Avenue Community League will not be opening their rink yet.

Sabino Spagnuolo, the league’s communication director, says, “Due to recent COVID-19 restrictions, our beloved skating rink is unable to host regular hours of operation for the public. This situation is evolving, so please watch our social media channels for updates!”

Henry Stainthorp (pictured) floods Spruce Ave’s rink back in 2016. This year, Spruce Ave has decided not to open the rink, but watch the league’s social media for updates. | Kate Wilson

Parkdale Cromdale Community League (PCCL) is opening their rink.

Shawn McKay, rink director, says, “Programs and activities are still to be finalized.”

When guidelines allow and COVID-19 numbers are low enough, scrimmages will be a priority. Until then, the league is holding free skating. The league is focused on ensuring activities are fun and safe. 

He started flooding the rink on Nov. 11. “The goal is to have ice as soon as possible. Every time I am out flooding, people drive by honking their horns. Some stop by to check on things and to see when the ice will be ready. Needless to say, people are excited and eager to strap the skates on. I know I am.”

Rink hours are still to be determined, but it may be weekday evenings from 4 to 9 pm, and weekends 9 am to 9 pm. “Last year we operated with a host from noon to 4 pm on weekends.”

Time will be blocked off for certain uses once provincial guidelines allow. “The thing to really focus on will be the number of attendees and how the league will create a safe space for people to go out and have fun.” Interested in volunteering or have questions? Email [email protected]

Delton Community League won’t be opening their rink this December due to COVID-19.

Farid Foroud, league president, says, “We will re-evaluate at the beginning of 2021.”

Alberta Avenue Community League will not create any ice for its winter games this year.

The ability to participate in activities at community rinks is evolving regularly. Leagues will be adapting to regulations and available resources over the rink season, so check with your league. You can also visit efcl.org\rinks for developing information about rinks.


Featured Image: People learning to skate in previous years. This year, there will be limits on how many people can be on the ice at the same time. | Rebecca Lippiatt