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Cold wave forces ice rink on Parliament Hill to cancel hockey

Cold snap in Ottawa forced kids hockey games on the $5.6-million rink to be moved indoors, heritage department says.

The Canada 150 ice rink on Parliament Hill was deemed unsuitable for a kids hockey tournament on Wednesday because outdoor temperatures are too cold.

JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canada 150 ice rink on Parliament Hill was deemed unsuitable for a kids hockey tournament on Wednesday because outdoor temperatures are too cold.

OTTAWA—It’s too cold for kids hockey on the government’s $5.6-million ice rink on Parliament Hill.

In the midst of a cold snap across much of the country, the Canadian winter has forced the cancellation of some of the only hockey games allowed on the outdoor rink, where pucks and sticks are banned during public skating times and a list of rules prohibits games like tag and racing.

Games scheduled as part of a kids’ hockey tournament in Ottawa were cancelled and moved indoors Wednesday as temperatures dipped below -18 degrees.

“Basically, it’s too cold, so the ice condition is not good right now,” said Simon Ross, spokesperson for Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, whose department organized the “Canada 150 Rink” as part of Ottawa’s year-end bash to close out the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“The exact word,” Ross said, “is ‘high degree of ice chipping.’ ”

Ross added that, while the hockey tournament will be moved indoors until the temperature warms, the ice is still good enough for public skating.

“All of the teams will be able to skate on the ice rink,” he said.

The rink was built this fall on the front lawn of Parliament and opened to the public Dec. 7. Initially, it was scheduled to close after 26 days on Jan. 1, but Joly reversed course 24 hours after announcing the timeline and said the rink would stay until the end of February.

The project made headlines for its multimillion dollar cost, as well as a list of rules for public skating that banned the use of smartphones on the ice, prohibited hockey sticks and pucks, and barred skaters from organizing “multiplayer games,” such as tag.

But there was some hockey organized. Journalists from the Parliamentary Press Gallery played their annual game of shinny against politicians earlier in December. And part of the $5.6-million cost of the rink went to organizing the kids hockey tournament, which officials said in November involved travel accommodations for 16 girls and 16 boys teams that came to play in Ottawa from across the country.

It was games in this tournament that were cancelled on the rink and moved indoors Wednesday, Ross said.

Once the rink closes at the end of February, the glass and boards will be donated to a community in need, Joly has said.

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