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Rink Diary January 2012

Sunday January 1 2012

Ice maintenance: pre 9 am scrape and flood; 11.30 am no maintenance because of rain. Flying squad dropped off zamboni. 1 pm scrape of pleasure-skating pad.

Monday Jan.2 2012

Ice maintenance: 11.15 scrape and flood, then zamboni was taken away for the flying squad. 2.30 zamboni back (any maint.?). 7.30 pm scrape and flood.

Tuesday Jan.3 2012

Ice maintenance: pre 9 am scrape and flood; 12 noon -- no zamboni in garage. 2 pm staff radioed to ask about maintenance. 3.15 pm scrape and flood. 8.15 scrape and flood done by flying squad operator -- didn't notify rink staff that he was going out on the ice.

Wednesday January 4 2012

Ice maintenance: Pre 9 a.m. scrape and flood; 12 noon scrape and flood; 3.45 scrape and flood; 6.30 pm scrape and flood; 9 pm scrape and flood.

Thursday January 5 2012

Ice maintenance: 11 am scrape and flood; 6 pm scrape and flood; 8 pm scrape and flood.

holiday crowds

skate loaner line-up

staff: Nayssam, Keegan, Yann,

Nayssam and Yo and snack sign
Friday Jan.6 2012

Ice maintenance: 9 am cursory scrape and flood; 12 noon -- ran out of gas.

Report from staff:

One of the everyday kids smoked a joint in the middle of the hockey ice just after three during all ages when tons of little kids and families were around. Rachel was trying to find the source of the smell (not expecting it to be someone right on the ice) parents pointed her to it and were quite upset. We kicked him out. Not sure what crazy notion he had.

12 noon: The zamboni driver had no key to the compressor room, also found the Zamboni was low on gas and there was no gas to refill. He did a scrape on the hockey ice, scraped half of the pleasure pad (basically around the edges) and had to stop to clean snow and ice out of the machine. By the time he got the machine cleaned he felt it did not have enough gas to finish the pad.

12:50 pm Someone dropped off gas, and told us that someone else would show up to resurface the ice around 2:30 or 3:00

1:30 pm: The Flying squad driver came inside and banged on the counter, and indicated there needed to be a person outside to clear people off the ice, then left the room. I went outside and asked him to wait and touch base with me. He ignored me calling to him across the ice. When he finally turned around I said "Can we please work together instead of you storming away angrily?" He said "Do I look angry to you?" and stomped off.

Thinking I needed to clear the ice immediately, I did just that. Then I kept people waiting for ten minutes while the driver gassed up the Zamboni.

As he was filling the Zamboni with water, a truck arrived with a new water heater for the compressor room.

As the driver was scraping the hockey ice, we cleared the area so the delivery truck could drive over the ice pad and back up to the compressor room.

At that point the driver was done the hockey ice. I sent the 30 + hockey players over to play. The flying squad driver refused to drive out onto the pleasure pad. I went over to see what was wrong. The ice had been very busy, and now there was a big delivery truck on half the mats. There were about 10-15 people up on the elevated bench along the side of the rink, none of them were at rink level. The other skaters were crowded around the benches on the north side of the rink. There was a group of 20+ kids inside the rinkhouse from Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club.

The driver refused to do the ice with the people sitting on the benches on the west side of the rink. He told me to tell all the pleasure skaters to skate on the hockey pad for the time being. (Please note above, the hockey pad was packed with hockey players playing a game.) I crowded everybody into the bench area, some people left. One man complained to the driver.

I fed people cookies to try and ensure good will (at this point pleasure skaters had been asked to clear the ice 7 times in less than two hours).

January 8: lots of skaters
January 10 2012

From Wallace staff:

Last night things got really tense at wallace when several guys showed up at around 6:30 pm to demand money - apparently $100 - that one of the kids owed to one of them. That kid was hanging out with his friends outside in the smoking section. A bunch of guys I had never seen before showed up. Initially I assumed they were friends, since a bunch of the regular kids seemed to know them and made a point to come out of the hockey rink to bang fists - like they thought these guys were pretty cool. It may be because one of the guys who showed up was one of the regular kids' older brother - and another guy seemed to be their cousin - which I found out later. The guy who was the older brother was not exactly involved in the incident but may have told the other guys that the first kid and his friends were there - I am really not sure.

Anyways...It was quite a crew of guys over in the smoking section but I couldn't tell what was going on - I thought that they were probably going to try to smoke pot and i would have to tell to go somewhere else. I did notice this really big man who was either skating or walking around with his little son on skates was watching the group like a hawk from the ice. I stepped inside for a second and when I came out the man had run over to the group and was in all of their faces yelling and telling them he had seen what was happening. He said he saw 4 of them circle around the one kid. One of the guys took his jacket off like he was ready for a fight. They seemed very tough and rumours were flying around that they said they were going to stab him. The man who stepped in worked at Wallace 7 or 8 years ago. He took complete charge which I must say I was grateful for. The guys did not care what I was saying to them at all. When I told them I would call corporate security if they didn't leave they said they had a right to be there and they weren't doing anything wrong. They were mouthy to the big guy but clearly feared him since he could have taken them all on if he wanted to. He knew the Wallace number upstairs and called the guys working to come down. They did and one of the upstairs staff told them they were all on camera (he told me later that that was probably not true - there are cameras but they can't see them at Wallace, although they may have footage at City Hall). I threatened to call the cops and one of them said his cousin had been killed by a cop and he didn't have any respect for them. They said they had a right to be there and I said I felt unsafe and that I couldn't make the rink safe with them there so I had a right to tell them to leave. Meanwhile the ex-staff called 911 from his cell phone and was starting to explain the situation to the person on the other end when they finally slinked off around the back of the rinks into the park and seemingly left.

The first kid seemed very rattled, and afterwards he came over and thanked the ex-staff for stepping in to help him and that he probably would have been stabbed if he hadn't. It should be stated that no weapon was specifically seen, but the guys looked tough enough to be carrying them and one of them had very baggy black clothes and I could tell there was something jangling in the pockets of his jeans. The ex-staff was explaining to the kid that if something like that happens again he should call his parents or a friend with a car and whether he tells them what is going on or not that he should have someone come and pick him up. He even offered to drive him somewhere but the kid said his friends were coming and his friends were already there and he would leave with them and he would be fine. The ex-staff pointed out to him that his friends were not going to be of any help if those guys had started in on him - they walked off to the side when they other guys circled around him.

This all happened within about 10-15 minutes. There were 4 guys in particular: one was short, white, shaved head, baggy black jeans and baggy black tshirt (after he took black jacket off). He had red marks on his cheekbones under his eyes that looked like they were from being punched in a recent fight. He'd been seen at Campbell before - not skating. One guy - possibly a cousin? - was average height, black, heavy set, shaved head also. 2 others seemed to be Latino - Portuguese? Italian? - one was tall and thin, with a grey hoodie and baseball cap, and a little black braided ponytail (i think). The other was heavy set and approx 5'8" and shaved head.

Of course the kid would not tell me their names.

After it had all ended and everyone had left and I finally felt comfortable enough to let the rink staff leave and go return the skate sharpener to Dufferin an hour or so later I was very frustrated to find the kid and several other friends hanging out up top behind on the west side of the hockey rink smoking joints - stinking up the rink I might add and again I had to deal with parents who were upset about it. I went and asked them to leave and told them they shouldn't still be there when those guys are after him and that i would have to call security if they stayed because it made me worried about their safety and the safety of everyone at the rink. They left a few minutes later.

January 14 2012

chairs not allowed: trying out the new skate aids

The city has a policy saying no chairs on the ice for new skaters. So they took the chairs and moved them upstairs. But there are so many people learning to skate that they agreed to buy some official skate aids. They look nice although they're too short for adults. The kids like them, though. But there's a problem -- the plastic breaks easily at the join, and within the first day, three of the ten were broken. That seems like a waste of money.

January 27, 2012

no zamboni --ice too snowy

There are some long-term ice maintenance problems at Wallace Rink. City Councillor Ana Bailao wanted to find out details. Excerpts:

1. Missing zamboni: Wallace zamboni was used as the flying squad vehicle from Dec.3 until January 12, supposedly because flying squad zamboni took that long to fix (parts had to be ordered from across the world, etc.). That meant that Wallace had irregular ice maintenance (not corresponding to the schedule, sometimes missed altogether) until Jan.12

2. Repairs too slow: Between Dec.4 and 12 there was no reliable hot water for the zamboni to flood Wallace Rink, so the ice was bad. (Water tank was finally replaced). When the Wallace zamboni driver hit an electrical line, program staff were not given the key to let in the electrician – he had to come back on a different day (three times?)

3. Communication: Definitely improved from other years. But at all three rinks, concerns and routines still need to be communicated better between the inside and the outside staff. Some flying-squad drivers or substitute drivers went on the ice without notifying rink staff – they didn’t want to come inside the change room to say they were on site. Communication and connection take a bit more time, but save time and money in the end.

4. Keys: Problems in communication between caretaker zamboni drivers and regular zamboni drivers at Wallace Rink – unwillingness to pass keys through rink program staff, unwillingness to give enough keys to caretaker-drivers. Sometimes it took hours until zamboni driver got a key, hours before trades could get access to compressor room or garage when they came to do a repair.

5. Vacation scheduling: Main on-site caretaker- zamboni-driver at Wallace was scheduled for his annual vacation on January 12 until the end of the season. He was replaced by off-site caretaker from Trinity-Bellwoods, who was not available at need (snow, rain).

February 2012

Friday Feb.3 2012

Late this afternoon staff found out that a permit had been booked into the 9 pm youth program time. This was despite attempts by the rink staff to explain to management that Wallace needs its program time to be honoured.

shut out of the rink

unexpected permit from Mississauga

The permit group was a league from Mississauga, playing full-equipment hockey. They at first went to Dufferin Rink because they don't know the neighbourhood. When they got to Wallace, the staff had to direct them to the swimming pool change rooms far down the hall, because Wallace Rink doesn't have segregated change rooms.

Meantime the youth were very unhappy, but most of them just left. One of the older shinny regulars stayed behind. He said he lives just at the edge of Etobicoke but he comes all the way into town because the rinks in the west are mainly taken up by permits. So it's hard to find any place for drop-in shinny hockey.

February 12 2012

the new skate aid collection

There seems to be no way to settle the skate aid/chairs question before the end of the rink season (or maybe never!). There's only one plastic skate aid left. The supervisor let some of the chairs be brought back down for now, but there aren't enough. So the cookie money was taken to IKEA and staff bought ten more chairs. They put them together without the seats, which may cut down on the kids pushing each other. Kind of ingenious.

Today there were lots of little incidents. One of the "rink rat" girls called rink staff Yo Utano, who is Japanese, a "chink." She said it loudly and repeatedly and the parents within earshot got quite upset. The girl herself is Jamaican. When the afternoon rink shift came in, one of them made the girl sit down and write lines: "I will not make racist remarks." When Yo left, the girl was still writing -- she had been told to write it 500 times, but the staff probably didn't make her do them all.

Yesterday, one of the other troublemaker kids took somebody's toboggan home. The staff saw him take it but didn't realize it was stolen until a woman reported it gone. So today when the kid came to skate, he was told he couldn't get on the rink until he brought back the toboggan. Long negotiations, with him at first insisting he hadn't taken it and then saying he hadn't realized it belonged to somebody, and then saying that he lived too far away to go and get it. Finally one of the staff drove him over, and they picked up the toboggan. He was required to call the women and apologize. Then he was finally allowed on the ice. The whole negotiation lasted two hours, but it was probably two hours well spent. Many of the rink rats have a loose relationship with telling the truth -- consequences are the best response.

Rink Conservancy

Excerpt from e-mail from Jutta Mason to permit holders:

There are long-running problems with ice maintenance at Wallace Rink. This is partly because of the zamboni being taken for the "flying squad" so often. Here is an alternative proposal.

The proposal says that it's time to set up the (pilot) "rink conservancy" in Ward 18 (Campbell, Dufferin, Wallace). That can SAVE the city money and also bring Campbell and Wallace Rinks up closer to the ice maintenance standard of Dufferin Rink.

See previous diaries

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Content last modified on November 13, 2012, at 09:50 AM EST