Young hockey players in Yellowknife will be able to get back on the ice next month.
As first reported by NNSL, the Yellowknife Sporting Club has been given the go-ahead to run a skills training program during phase two of the NWT’s pandemic recovery plan.
Brad Anstey, president of the club, told Cabin Radio the modified program – for youth aged 19 years and younger – will allow for a maximum of 15 skaters, two goalies, and three instructors on the ice.
“It’ll be fun and it’ll be exciting, and I think our youth are going to be very excited just to get back on the ice,” he said.
Anstey said the City of Yellowknife has told the club it plans to reopen the Yellowknife Community Arena on August 10. The club is hoping to run its skill program from that week until September 4, before school resumes.
The arena was closed in March as pandemic restrictions came into effect in the NWT.
Under the territory’s pandemic recovery plan, indoor hockey, curling, broomball, and lacrosse aren’t allowed to resume until all restrictions are lifted.
Regular games will still be prohibited, Anstey said, and youth will have to follow strict social distancing guidelines like forgoing the use of dressing rooms.
He said he’s thankful to the chief public health officer and the City for supporting the club’s plans. He expects there will be a lot of interest in the program.
“I think it’s going to be great, people are really enthusiastic about it,” he said.
“My phone’s been blowing up. I’m getting lots of Facebook messages, lots of phone calls, lots of texts, lots of big thank-yous, people pretty excited about it.”
Umesh Sutendra, a Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson, said last week the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer was in the process of considering exemptions for certain youth activities like indoor hockey.
Sutendra said an announcement would be made once that was complete, which he anticipated some time in the coming weeks.