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Overcast, 5 degrees. Arrived to find the zamboni driver fixing the hockey nets, carefully tying the nets back to the posts. There were about half a dozen people playing around with pucks on the hockey side, no one on the pleasure side. The ice had recently been maintained, and was in excellent condition despite yesterday's sun. Hodgson was one of the only rinks to re-open last night, and maybe even the earliest: 5:30pm! There was also a rink guard just entering the ice who gave me a copy of their March Break Schedule. When we left the zamboni driver was about to head out to Ramsden for some much-needed maintenance there.
Hodgson rink is hard to find but worth finding- a pearl of organization and care.
The ice conditions are great- recently cleaned although it seems a bit thick- near the top of the kick board, but the ice is still smooth and clean. There are about 20 skaters, a full game on the shinny side with the players in full gear- helmets and pads.
On the pleasure side the skaters don't have helmets on but they are playing around only with the puck while a few pleasure skaters share the ice. Staff explains that when younger kids want to practice passing on the pleasure side, as long as they keep the puck on the ice and are considerate of pleasure skaters, he lets them. He bends the rules with circumstances, even though it makes more work for him since he has to keep a close eye on the kids passing the puck to make sure they keep a slower pace. This worker cares about whole picture.
The schedule is posted - both inside and outside.
There is a schedule for the ice cleaning but because the zamboni driver is always on site, he uses discretion and cleans the ice when needed.
There are mats and benches garbages and recycling bins, everything is clean. There is a shared male and female change room with adjoining washrooms. There is a food machine but it is empty.
The helmet policy is for kids under 6 - mandatory and for shinny players- mandatory but not on the pleasure side. Some sticks are available to borrow. The green shovels are not on site but with a zamboni on site it is less relevant.
The rink is going to be rebuilt for 1.2 million- but when the planners and architects came by last year it was evident that no one on the design team was a hockey player or an ice maintainer and they were uninterested in hearing comments from staff on site.
In the end the rebuild did not proceed yet- although the boards were removed- due to a disagreement between the City and the School board. Since you can't play shinny hockey without boards, the boards from Wallace Emerson (which is being rebuilt) were brought up to Hodgson. Recycling!