Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
According to the Ottawa Sun‘s Ken Warren, Senators skaters and local NHL players are allowed to resume skating at a private rink in Ottawa. It is the first time players are back on the ice since the NHL paused the 2019-20 season on March 12 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Minto Arena was approved to re-open by the Ontario government. Minto’s general manager Scott Lawryk told the Ottawa Sun, “A lot of skating schools are checking it out, along with the pro and minor pro players.” The arena is only using one of their three ice surfaces. The international ice surface is “easier to maintain the distance.”
Specific guidelines are in effect, which include no more than five people on the ice at any time, maintaining physical distancing at all times within the building, showing up to the arena in everything but skates. “A lot of people are using it as a coach and four players,” Lawryk added. “You’re not going to have conventional hockey. You’re not going to have any situations, for instance, where you might have puck battles.”
A maximum of five players will lace-up skates in an area before taking the ice. Each room will be thoroughly disinfected and prepared for the next group. Skaters will leave the ice through a separate exit room. A Zamboni resurfaces the ice after every 50-minute session. No spectators are allowed at any given time.
Lawryk said they have “developed an entrance/exit strategy”.“There are a lot of moving pieces. We’ll have a greeter at the door, like a starter a golf course. You talk to the starter, who advises people on the rules and we will have a supervisor inside, making sure the rules are being followed.”
Prior to the pause, the Senators, who played 71 games, sat in 7th place in the Atlantic Division at 25-34-12 and 62 points and 30th in overall standings. The NHL continues to have discussions on how to resume play and recently, a 24-team playoff format is looking likely. Despite an extended format, the Senators would not be able to play until next preseason.
Five Senators players tested positive for COVID-19 during the pause. All players who contracted the virus have since recovered.
By Della Young