Cambridge parents calling for more rinks to reopen in their community
CAMBRIDGE -- Parents in Cambridge want to see more rinks reopen as minor hockey players get ready to hit the ice in the coming months.
Although the regular season hasn't started yet, some parents said they're worried kids won't be on the ice as often as they'd like.
"He always wants more ice time," said hockey mom Amanda Hellyer. "If he could be on the ice 24/7, he would."
Hellyer's son, Aiden, was back at Galt Arena Gardens on Tuesday for team evaluations. The ice is ready for action, but with reduced availability of fewer than two hours a week.
"They were on the ice five or six times a week (last year)," Hellyer said.
In previous years, coaches, volunteers and residents were able to book additional ice time each week. But, that's no longer the case. Only sports organizations are allowed to book the six reopened surfaces.
"We're trying to be flexible, we're trying to be responsible," said Hardy Bromberg, deputy city manager for the City of Cambridge. "Safety is of utmost concern."
City officials said they're basing booking on the needs of the community, rather than offering private bookings.
"They don't have the same governing body for contact tracing, for example," Bromberg said.
Another parent, Kelly Deml, said she's frustrated by the lack of options. She's volunteered to organize ice time for the Under-16 AAA team.
"You're missing on this whole part that they're not even being accounted for," Deml said. "They're just saying, OK if registration is down, we're not opening these rinks, you get what you get."
Some parents said they might go elsewhere rinks stay closed and availability doesn't increase.
"Open it up," Deml said. "There's no reason. If I can go to the City of Kitchener, Brant, North Dumfries, why can't I in my own city?"
Parents added this season is already facing a lot of changes.
"They're not going to be able to do the things they've done in previous years," Hellyer said. "We already know there won't be tournaments and games as we know them."
Cambridge officials said they understand parents' concerns, adding the rules are only temporary. They also said the situation is evolving and they're prepared to adapt to the needs of the community while being fair to all organizations.
In Kitchener, officials said all but one rink is open and available for rent. Waterloo officials said two more rink surfaces will reopen by October. They added they always stagger rink openings based on the needs in the community, regardless of the pandemic.