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At 1.30, Jimmie Simpson Rink "Hockey in the Neighbourhood" kids (and some parents) went by bus and by car to visit Dufferin Rink. The head of the advisory council, Heather O'Meara, had made most of the arrangements, together with the "Hockey in the Neighbourhood" coaches and Parks & Rec staff (who had to produce the permission slips and phone all the parents registered to make sure no one turned up at the usual time and was disappointed). Councillor Paula Fletcher had planned to come over too, but she had to cancel. However her assistant Pat Chastang came, and so did Councillor Adam Giambrone, who dropped the puck to start the games. Brian Green, ice maintenance supervisor for all west outdoor rinks, came too, and so did zamboni driver Dexter (one of the city's best).
The kids did drills with their coaches and then they played shinny hockey. Even though the benches were full, there were a lot of kids on the ice as well. Then afterwards the kids ate pizza and drank hot chocolate and had a birthday celebration for one of the Jimmie Simpson kids -- the mother brought cupcakes for everyone!
Heavy, wet snow in the morning close most City rinks. This one re-opened by 1 pm. Only problem: by 4.50, the gate was still almost blocked shut by snow on the mat. The hockey nets were off (pleasure-skating time) and there was no one on the ice (although the ice was good). Hard to find staff because neither the change rooms nor the office have windows. The two staff inside the office did respond to a knock, gave a schedule without even being asked, and went to fix the snow blocking the gate.
From looking around at the rink party, it seems like Jimmie Simpson needs: - permanent signs indicating the women's and men's changeroom - water fountain in women's changeroom must be fixed - bathroom cleaning and attendance (trash all over) - Ice to be cleared between changreroom and rink door (health and safety) - benches placed outdoors (at least 1) so that so that skaters can change outdoors too. - Solution to lack of window between staff office and ice. Consider changing location of staff room to a desk in the changeroom. In the women's changeroom a window could be installed in the external door to allow staff to keep an eye on the rink (as long as there is a door to the washroom part of the women's changeroom?- not sure). - Post ice schedule outside of rink on lockable board and on staff office and on changerooms- the rink party info was posted why not the schedule for every other day of the year?
Councillor Paula Fletcher hosted a skating party, together with Parks, Forestry & Recreation. There were free hot dogs and hot chocolate and Energy Saving Light Bulbs. Plus a DJ and a professional figure skater and a juggler / fire eater giving a show right on the ice. The rink was full of people. So many families! Heather O'Meara, chair of the Jimmie Simpson advisory council, said she couldn't believe that so many people came, when the rink is often so empty. It seems that people want to skate, if they get the idea that it will be fun. Even if they have to change their skates standing up or sitting in the snow -- because there were no benches for people to sit on -- they'll come out and try it. The challenge is to make the rink a bit more welcoming the rest of the time, so that families keep coming.
The lights are on but the hockey players get kicked off. No helmets here but the gates are locked and the lights left on. Jimmie Simpson is about as far from residential housing as Wallace Emerson or Christie Pits -- why do they lock out the players?
Rink has about 15 people on it. Only one pad so a little practice on net at one end of the rink with some pleasure skaters doing the old circle around and around, and around. A crowd of 10 odd teens, friends of staff it seems, crowd into the staff office.
The rink is a single pad and it is good and clean. There are about 8 shinny and pleasure skaters, at the same time! The rink guard is on the ice and is really friendly and approachable. The schedule is not posted but copies are available inside his office or in the Jimmie Simpson Community Centre. He laments the lack of a staff phone in the office. The ice is maintained but not according to a schedule, usually once a day.
There are mats out but no outdoor benches. There are garbage containers outside but they are dirty and need attention, spilling over. No food is available. The changeroom has two entrances 1 is facing east and labelled "men" the other faces north and is labelled changeroom. It is clean. There is no code of conduct or schedule posted inside. No public phone.
The rink guard has no helmet on while on the ice. He tries to enforce the helmet rule though, but it is hard -- nobody is wearing one. There are no green shovels, although with the community centre right there, the rink guard thinks they might be in storage.