July 23, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - It’s hard to think about ice time during summer heat, but those who booked theirs in advance can consider themselves lucky; next season's peak skating times are now booked solid following a private arena’s closure.
Jeff Putnam, the city’s civic facilities manager, says the city’s six sheets of ice continue to book up since the Ice Box Arena closed because of a mechanical issue earlier this month.
“I believe it’s a maintenance mechanical issue, but I don’t know the details of it. They’ve been unable to make ice for the last few weeks from what I understand,” he says. "We haven’t heard directly from the owner of the private facility. We know for sure that it’s not operating currently but we haven’t heard if it’s going to be a temporary closure or permanent."
The location’s owner Gary Hartnell declined an interview.
Since the closure, the city booked all peak rink times, which are from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., for the upcoming season. Putnam says spaces usually come close to booking up each season, but the arena closure created an increased demand.
“We’re 100 per cent booked solid right now already for next year,” Putnam says, adding there are less convenient spaces available. "We can only do so much because there’s only so much capacity that we do have and it's very difficult to pick up the slack if another facility were to go down in short notice."
Currently available times are during weekdays and after midnight, Putnam says. If people need peak times, he recommends facilities in Logan Lake and Chase.
"I’m not saying we’re there yet but it’s certainly an option. There is some time available (here) between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. as well. Of course there are some lunch hours available,” he says.
The office hasn’t received any complaints yet and staff continue to try and accommodate as best as they can, Putnam says.
Many team captains have already collected funds from their teams and are being put in a hard spot having to fight for ice as well.
“(People’s) main concern is they’ve already collected funds from the teams and they’ve already made commitments on ice times and that kind of thing,” he says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015