Want to play hockey this winter? Be prepared to shovel all the steps and do the sidewalk work that comes with it.
Canada’s sunniest city, Winnipeg, already has snow falling on two fronts for the first time in seven years. Getting rid of that stuff has caused congestion, perhaps even a traffic jam.
The city’s sports authority, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, scrambled to find a temporary home for their three games this weekend.
With last weekend’s school holidays over, the temperature had dropped to about 15 degrees as organizers announced they would try to extend the season past August 1, a tradition that began more than a decade ago. Instead, they will host a pair of Intrawest Ice Sports games at Investors Group Field on Sunday and Tuesday nights.
“We feel that if you are going to make a permanent move toward reducing the pressure on the primary rink, maybe this isn’t the time,” said Mark Cullen, the general manager of the city’s municipalities services department.
The Coven Energy Smart Cloud Dedicated Turf was installed in 2018 in a domed rink that the city leases from the University of Manitoba and is sometimes used for NHL games and concerts. Organizers said their game plan was to put some smaller games on a smaller surface to help with traffic flow.
“We think that given that the problems will be created this weekend, that we have the smartest public transportation system in the world, so that it could accommodate hundreds of thousand of spectators,” Cullen said.
A few Mile High exits ahead of the crowds were closed for the weekend games, but organizers are hoping they will not need them come next week.
“If the weather holds, maybe Monday morning we’ll be back on main ice and have all the games back to normal,” Cullen said.
Even though Winnipeg’s big freeze hasn’t yet arrived, Cullen expects the Goldeyes’ games to be the last at an extended indoor venue. The team signed a three-year lease with the new stadium in 2014.
“The plan right now is to do a full skate by the end of the year on main ice and a full out from beginning to end in 2019,” Cullen said.
“I don’t know that we could possibly repeat that situation in the next few years. We might try to push that back a bit,” he said.
Information from: Winnipeg Free Press, http://www.winnipeg.com