Hockey schedules slide after Games Centre fire

The Canada Games Centre fire is going to inconvenience many of the city's hockey players this fall.

The Canada Games Centre fire is going to inconvenience many of the city’s hockey players this fall.

Minor hockey league practices will likely start a little earlier in the day and adult league games will end a little later in the evening to cope with the increased demand on the remaining two rinks, including the centre’s Northwestel rink and Takhini Arena.

“I think, for the most part, people are getting ice, but it may not be at as good a times as they had in the past,” said Walter Brennan, president of the Yukon Amateur Hockey Association. “It may affect the amount of ice-times teams are getting, but they’ll be able to function.”

However, until the damaged ATCO rink is reopened, which is expected to happen at the start of November, the Whitehorse Rec League is taking the biggest loss.

The league, which consisted of 19 teams last season, will be playing nine games a week during October, down from 16 last season.

“I’m not too fussed about it. It would be a drag if ATCO is not back until February, that would really affect things,” said Andrew Connors, president of the Whitehorse Rec Hockey League. “Even when it goes to three sheets, there’s still not a lot of great ice-time to pick up.”

Minor league teams will lose some practices, about two per squad over October, with teams rotating between two and three a week, instead of each getting three.

“We came out that pretty good; I’m very happy with what the city gave us,” John Grant, president of the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association.

“We’ve actually lost very little ice (time).

“I was actually quite surprised that it didn’t affect us as badly as I thought it was going to.”

To make up for lost time, the minor association will move the year-end tournament to the end of April, instead of at the beginning.

“So we’ll catch-up with that ice-time anyway,” said Grant. “I already have a commitment from the city that as long as we’re renting the ice, they’ll leave it in.”

The Whitehorse Women’s Hockey Association and the Oldtimers Hockey League, both of which expanded by one team last season, will lose no ice-time.

“I can say that we don’t have any complaints,” said Michelle Rabeau, president of the women’s league, in an email to the News. “The City was great in how they dealt with us, they rearranged our time, but didn’t take any away. It will only be the altered schedule until November and then back to normal.”

This season all Oldtimer games will take place at Takhini Arena, unlike last season when the season-opener and some playoff games took place at the Games Centre.

“We’ve kept our eight slots through the week, but we’re later on a couple nights,” said Bernie Adilman, president of the Oldtimers Hockey League. “Overall, considering what it could have been, we’re in pretty good shape.”

The Game Centre’s Northwestel ice (NHL size rink) will be open for the start of October.

The June 24 fire was started by three youths, two of whom were charged with arson by the RCMP.

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