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We got these emails from shinny hockey player Sally Bliss, describing what she found in various rinks...
posted February 14, 2006
This email is to follow up on some of my negative skating and shinny experiences at the city rinks at Greenwood, Kew Beach and Monarch Park. I have decided not to file an official complaint with city councillors and Parks and Rec.
Since those experiences, I had the most glorious 2 hour session of women's shinny on perfectly prepared ice at Greenwood Park. Two days later, I had the same experience at Kew Beach.
A week ago Monday, I had to get off the ice again at Kew Beach during women's shinny for the zamboni to clear and flood, but was told that this happens equally to men and women during their time slots. It meant sitting for 10 minutes, which I think is reasonable. Last Friday, my ESL students and I were turned away for a second time from Monarch Park because the ice was soft and there were a few inches of water on the rink. The high those days was 8 & 11 Celcius and I understand the challenge of dealing with unseasonable weather.
What I realize is that I should have made the city aware of my negative experiences right when they happend and not so long after the fact, when it seems that they have now got their act together in maintaining the ice. The main reason, however, is that I'm trying to establish a relationship with the Monarch Park rink people and I don't want to jeopardize that by getting their backs up. I took students twice last week and again yesterday and we've almost always had the ice to ourselves. Yesterday, because nobody else was there, I was able to give my students hockey sticks during the public skating time.
posted February 14, 2006
I only tried mixed hockey once this year. I went to Dieppe Park for an 18 and over shinny and left after 10 minutes because I felt unsafe. The rink guard allowed 8-10 skaters per side (another 8-10 players were sitting), as well as kids clearly under 18. The pace was fast, which wouldn't have been as much as an issue, had there been just 5 per side--but with that many bodies on the ice, I thought for sure I was going to get hit.
A couple of times before X-mas, Andrew came with me to women's shinny at Kew Beach. Not many women show up before the holidays and no one minded him playing because there were so few of us. It was great, because he's just beginning to play hockey and wouldn't do so well in the faster-paced guys' shinny.
Jimmy Simpson has a women's time slot on Monday nights, I think from 7-9pm, but I never go because Kew Beach is more convenient. Riverdale's women's time I think is Saturday from 1-3 and I don't go to that because I play at Greenwood from 10-12. I would prefer to have more women's slots on different nights in the East End. ie-Sunday or Thursday. Withrow had amazing Thursday night women's shinny but the rink is not open this season for some reason--broken compressor? I would also love to see a women's shinny time slot at Monarch Park.
As for preparing the ice--I hope that next season they can be on the ball sooner. The first Saturday women's shinny at Greenwood, the compressor was broken--the second Saturday we waited until 11:15 for the zamboni to finish. Our time slot is 10-12:00 and they hadn't started clearing off the snow until 10:30. Twice, during women's shinny at Kew, I've sat while the zamboni does it's thing. Once was for 20 mins, the other time for 10. The time when it took 20 mins--I had just arrived to play. I was frustrated because I wanted to get a good 1/2 hour skate in. The time slot in the FUN guide says 6-8:30 and I had arrived at 8pm. The rink staff told me, "you should just come earlier". My feeling was, you shouldn't publish that there's a time slot for women until 8:30, when really you ask people to get off the ice at 8pm.
Nevertheless, the city rinks are one of my favourite things about winter in Toronto and I brag about how awesome and accessible free hockey is to all my Ottawa friends who have the canal.