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Greenlight for indoor practices too late, says Carstairs Minor Hockey president

Town of Carstairs decides to pull ice out two days before announcement
MVT stock Carstairs Minor Hockey
The ice has been taken out of Carstairs Memorial Arena, leaving Carstairs Minor Hockey Association with no home ice after the province announced on the weekend that team sport practices could restart. File photo/MVP Staff

CARSTAIRS - Carstairs Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) members are not happy with the timing of the provincial government’s decision to allow hockey practices to resume during the pandemic, says president Richard Herbert.

On Feb. 6 the province announced that although games could not resume, practices could start up again. 

Unfortunately for Carstairs teams, the decision was made on Feb. 4 to pull the ice out of the Carstairs Memorial Complex.

“We are disappointed with the provincial government for doing what they did,” said Herbert. “There was no consultation at all with any of these small minor hockey associations to ask them what they would do. 

“They would have said they would wait to pull the ice out then there would be some sort of revenue to recoup some of the losses, there would have been some sort of revenue stream.”

On Feb. 6 the province announced that lessons, practices and conditioning activities could resume for indoor team-team-based minor sports/activities and school athletics. 

For CMHA the news came two days late.

“The season is cancelled,” he said. “Basically it's because the town was forced to make the decision to pull the ice out of the arena because it costs so much to keep the ice in there and if nobody is using it they have no source of revenue for it.

“Do we wait around for another month paying $7,000, $8,000, $10,000 a month to run an arena that isn’t being used or do we pull the ice out and cut our costs down to $700 or $800 to keep the heat on?

“So they (town) come to the decision that it is costing them so much a month to run the arena and they decided to pull the ice out, and that forced us at Carstairs Minor Hockey to cancel the season because we have nowhere to play.”

The town consulted CMHA before pulling out the ice, he said.

“We’ve been in good conversation with them,” he said. “When the provincial government announced their new plan last week that there would be no indoor youth sports until March 1 at earliest, the town made the decision then that they couldn’t sit around for another month.”

CMHA was not the only association impacted by the timing of the government’s reopening for practices announcement, he said.

“Lots of small minor hockey associations in Alberta got caught with the same thing,” he said. “If a lot of these towns that pulled the ice out had known that the announcement was going to come on Saturday morning as it did, they wouldn’t have pulled the ice out.”

The Didsbury arena remains open for bookings for practices, Nicole Aasen, manager of community services with the Town of Didsbury said Monday.

The ice at the Cremona arena has also been removed.