New ‘no sticks, no pucks’ signage goes up at outdoor rink

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The Town of Tillsonburg continues to remind residents that the ice at the J.L. Scott Outdoor Recreation Pad is available for skating only.

That means no sticks, no pucks, no ringette rings. New signs went up Tuesday morning to remind people of the provincial restrictions.

“The outdoor recreation rink will continue to be available for the time being,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar during his weekly social media live-stream on Jan. 6.

“I remind members of the public, again, especially the adults, that there is no sticks, no pucks and no scrimmages,” said Molnar.

“This is a provincial gathering restriction that the local municipality supports. This is all subject to group size and physical distancing as listed on the facility.

“I encourage us all to play by the rules and access will remain available. Create additional health concerns, and … the rink’s operational capacity could be jeopardized.”

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The province does permit use of outdoor rinks during the COVID-19 lockout it announced starting Dec. 26, but playing hockey or ringette is not permitted, noted Chris Baird, Tillsonburg’s director of Recreation, Culture and Parks on Monday.

“The outdoor rink has created a real buzz, that’s for sure. The challenge we’ve had, of course, is that a lot of people are out playing hockey.”

It’s a Canadian pastime, he noted, but at the some time slap shots and flying pucks create conflict with other skaters.

“We’re getting constant calls from people saying it’s very dangerous, or my child got hit or almost hit. I know our bylaw officers and our OPP stop by routinely to make sure that (no sticks, no pucks) is being enforced.

“My staff, we flood the ice three times a day, and we keep an eye on it, but we’re not here at night. And this is sometimes when the problem is.”

Baird said four signs, each 2’x4′ went up Tuesday morning.

They don’t want to be heavy handed, he said, but he’s hoping people will respect the provincially mandated restrictions.

“You can’t play hockey, but you sure can work on your skating and get out there and enjoy it.”

There is also a maximum capacity for the outdoor rink, which has also not been adhered to, he noted.

“We’d really hate to take that rink offline because it’s proven to be really important.”

cabbott@postmedia.com