Ottawa's Canada 150 outdoor rink too cold for hockey tournament
Temperatures were so cold in Ottawa on Wednesday that an international youth hockey tournament had to cancel its use of the Canada 150 outdoor rink on Parliament Hill.
Update: Due to the extreme cold and the current weather forecast, all @BellCapitalCup round robin games scheduled for Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 on the Canada 150 Rink will be moved indoors to the Kinburn Sensplex. (1/1)— Bell Capital Cup (@bellcapitalcup) December 27, 2017
Young hockey players from Canada, the U.S. and around the world are in Ottawa for the 19th annual tournament.
Some teams were promised to play on the Canada 150 rink but the severe weather meant the ice became a safety concern and three of eight games were moved indoors.
“The ice became too brittle. We can’t warm the ice up and so it became an issue where the ice was cracking in certain locations,” Ottawa International Hockey Festival director Aaron Robinson told CTV Ottawa.
Not only was the cracking ice a safety concern for the players but Ottawa Public Health spokesperson Birgit Isernhagen also warned of the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia on such frigid days.
On Wednesday, Environment Canada issued extreme cold weather warnings with windchill values of below 30, which also triggered a frostbite advisory.
Players from The Nepean Wildcats, who were slated to play on the Canada 150 rink Wednesday, were markedly disappointed when they were moved inside to the Canadian Tire Centre.
“I was really looking forward to it,” one player said.
“We all wore like balaclavas and warm stuff underneath and like double-layered socks,” bemoaned another player.
Despite the bittersweet location change, the children will likely still enjoy the experience.
“It’s still fun that we get to play here but yeah playing at Parliament would have been really fun,” said a player.
Currently the Dec. 28 and 29 round robin games have been moved to the Kinburn Sensplex but it’s unclear if any of the games will move back outdoors if the deep freeze abates.
“We’re going to re-huddle and look at how we proceed for the next couple of days,” said Robinson. “Not knowing the forecast and whatever, we’ll probably have to move games and open the rink back up to public skating.”
The other five games are still scheduled to go as planned on the Canada 150 rink but heaters will be brought in to keep the players warm.
The tournament runs until Sunday.
With files from CTV Ottawa’s Megan Shaw and The Canadian Press