'It's going to leave a lot of players unable to participate': Concerns over minor hockey in the fall
With local recreation facilities being utilized as COVID-19 vaccination clinics, there are growing concerns that ice time may be affected in the fall.
Steve Fontaine, general manager of Barrie Minor Hockey, says they could be short one to two ice rinks until the end of October.
A loss of additional rinks could result in reducing enrolment by 25 per cent.
"It could affect our rep program, as well as our select and house league programs," Fontaine says. "It's going to leave a lot of players unable to participate."
In Barrie, the Holly Recreation Centre is being used as a vaccination clinic, while the East Bayfield Community Centre is housing vaccines. Innisfil hockey shouldn't be impacted this fall, as the vaccine clinic is being run at the gym.
Hockey, figure skating and ringette are among other activities impacted by the change. In addition, ice-related adult recreation programs and public events could also be in jeopardy.
"We're hoping the city can reconsider and find another location for the vaccine rollout," Fontaine says. He hopes to know the plan within the next month to know what programs they can offer.
Barrie councillor Mike McCann wants the city to consider a new location.
"I want to have a win-win, where we can have kids playing hockey," McCann says.
McCann will be presenting a motion to use alternative venues as vaccination clinics to city council on Monday.