Skip to content

No hockey allowed: Future of Penticton outdoor rink in jeopardy

Sticks and pucks during public skating hours could force the closure of rink, say Activate Penticton
Penticton’s outdoor rink on Martin Street. (Logan Lockhart- Western News)

Hockey and public skating can not safely co-exist at Penticton’s outdoor rink next to city hall, the group responsible for overseeing the facility says.

The Activate Penticton Society issued its “final plea” Wednesday, Dec. 20, reiterating that playing hockey at the rink is prohibited and that those who break the rules could force the facility to close.

“We have signage that makes this clear, but the rules are being blatantly ignored every day,” said Drew Barnes, president of the society. “We cannot go on like this, it’s not safe, it’s not fair on our volunteers and it goes against the community spirit the rink is intended to represent.”

Since the rink opened for the season on Dec. 16, representatives from Activate Penticton say rink ambassadors and other members of the public have asked hockey players to take their sticks and pucks away from the ice.

Those requests have been met with “acts of defiance and refusal, essentially daring physical enforcement,” reads a press release.

The society also said in a press release that the disregard for rules is putting pressure on its volunteer-run organization and jeopardizing the future of public skating in downtown Penticton.

“All we ask is for users to respect the rules which are in place to ensure safety of all users,” Barnes said.

“We love hockey too, but there is a time and a place for it to be played safely. Please make a private booking if you wish to play hockey on the outdoor rink. This is a final plea for hockey players to follow the rules of the rink or we will have no choice but to close the rink and re-evaluate our offering.”

The society offers private bookings at the rink daily, from 8 a.m. to noon. Hockey can be played during this time, they said.

Otherwise, the facility — located at 107 Martin Street — is only for public skating.

In its statement Wednesday, the society also said security cameras have captured people accessing the rink past its closing time of 9 p.m. when the lights are off.

This marks the second time in as many years that sticks and pucks have been at the centre of controversy at the outdoor rink, which only opened in February 2022.

Barnes, a local volunteer, told Black Press last winter that those who break the rules will put the future of the rink in doubt.

The 40 by 14-metre rink came at a price tag of $1.1 million and can operate in temperatures of up to 10 C.

Activate Penticton helped collect more than $800,000 in private donations to make the project a reality.

Information about private bookings and the rink’s daily hours can be found here.

READ MORE: Who’s going to claim the Penticton-made, world’s largest hockey stick?

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

Read more