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As user groups wait, ice plant work keeps Yellowknife Multiplex arena closed

We know that hockey will be happening this year. We know both speedskating and figure skating can get going as they've been able to get going as of Phase 1.

For the present time, hockey and speedskating are using the Yk Community Arena but it's a tight squeeze as ice time is a commodity at the present.

Those sports, along with figure skating, use the Multiplex for the bulk of its operations and they're still waiting to get in. That's because the facility is still closed to the public; the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club is separate from the Multiplex, even though it shares the same building but it owns the space it's in.

The Multiplex has been closed since March and will remain that way for the next little while. How long it will remain closed is anyone's guess. At the present time, the facility's ice plant is receiving an upgrade, which will cost $595,000 this fiscal year and $170,000 the following fiscal year.

Alison Harrower, a spokesperson with the city, stated in an e-mail response to Yellowknifer that the upgrades are continuing on schedule but didn't provide any specifics on when everything would be finished.

When it comes to user groups, Harrower stated that city is "working with community groups and organizations who use city facilities to accommodate this year's activities and the operational changes due to Covid-19."

The Yellowknife Multiplex is undergoing maintenance and repairs, but officials won't say when they'll be finished.
NNSL file photo

In a previous interview, Kacee MacLean, past president of the Yk Minor Hockey Association, said that its season will begin on Sept. 18 at the Yk Community Arena. 

They plan to remain there until at least Sept. 24 which MacLean said, at that time, will see the association hopefully move into the Multiplex to carry on with the bulk of its season.

The Yellowknife Speed Skating Club will be following the return-to-play guidelines set out by NWT Speed Skating, which is using the Speed Skating Canada guidelines.

Programming has begun for the older divisions – Speed Skating 2, Speed Skating 3 and competitive groups – and that's happening at the Yk Community Arena.

Martin Rourke, president of the speedskating club, said learn-to-skate programs for youth and adults have always happened at the community arena but this is the first time the older groups have been at the venue.

"We'll be there for the foreseeable future," he said. "We've had to shorten our practice times simply because there's only one sheet of ice available and we're sharing with other groups."

At the present time, there is no adult programming, he said, with only those under the age of 19 allowed on the ice as per the return-to-play guidelines.

The exception to that rule is for those who are skating under the Special Olympics umbrella, he added.

"We haven't been given any word on when adult skating can resume," he said. "Possibly in January but it all depends on when Phase 3 comes into effect, that's my guess."

About the Author: James McCarthy

I'm the managing editor with NNSL Media and have been so since 2022.
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