Outdoor rinks open, but not for hockey games
While Gatineau’s outdoor rinks are expected to open sometime this winter, the city confirmed that people won’t be able to partake in pick-up hockey games due to the state of the pandemic locally. According to the provincial government’s health and safety guidelines, participating in team sports, including hockey, is still not allowed for cities in maximum emergency (red zone) mode.
As it stands, people will only be able to skate by themselves or in pairs, with a maximum of 25 people present at the same time – which includes participants on the ice and people standing along the perimeter. For parks with multiple ice surfaces, the maximum capacity has been set at 25 people for each.
Altogether, the city expects to have 79 outdoor rinks this winter, including three general public ice rinks, 23 neighbourhood rinks – one of which is a Sens rink – and 53 rinks with or without boards – four of which are Sens rinks. Two of the three rinks at Parc du Lac Beauchamp and Parc du ruisseau de la Brasserie should require reservations from its participants. In addition, if the provincial government adjusts Gatineau’s alert level to orange or lower, the city will review its protocol while respecting legal sanitary measures.
Considering that the announcement could cause frustration among locals who have been itching to play pick-up hockey this winter, Lucerne district councillor Gilles Chagnon stressed that the city doesn’t have a say in the decision, since it rests on the provincial government’s shoulders. He added that people still need to be vigilant about the virus. “We’re just following the rules and applying them,” Chagnon said. “For sure, we don’t like being told what to do. But it’s a pandemic. We need to take it seriously. We need to be careful. Our hospitals are fragile.”