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Everybody loves hockey, until flying pucks get a bit too close to children taking their first halting strides on the ice.
With the holiday school break starting, the most Canadian of sports is in full swing on the city’s outdoor rinks, providing high-spirited kids a healthy way to burn off energy, instead of playing games with their thumbs.
Any parent who is a part of their kid’s hockey will tell you it’s invigorating and wonderful. But for little ones learning to skate on the same ice, it can be intimidating and downright scary.
Jeff Hyslop emailed to say he’s been teaching his two small children to skate at Lambton Kingsway Park, near Royal York Rd. and Dundas St. W., during times designated for leisure skating.
But the ice is usually flooded with boys playing shinny, who ignore the signs that say the ice is reserved for leisure skating and take over, he said.
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“We only go during public skate, but there is always hockey being played during this time,” Hyslop said. “In fairness to the hockey players, there isn’t any signage or restricting hockey during public skate time.
“I don’t think hockey should be allowed during public skate as there is a time dedicated for this. It is uncomfortable and not safe to teach young kids to skate when pucks are flying around.”
We went there after school on Wednesday, during a time not designated on signs posted at the rink for shinny or leisure skating. Lots of teenagers were playing shinny, along with two small children who clung to the edge of the ice while learning to skate.
Status: Jane Arbour, who deals with media for the parks department, sent the following reply to questions about shinny invading rinks during times designated for leisure skating: “There is signage listing the shinny and public skate hours at Kingsway Lambton, as well as a sign indicating no pucks, balls or sticks are permitted during leisure skate times. We encourage residents to contact 311 if these guidelines are not being followed. Although this is an unsupervised rink, if staff is aware of these issues, they can visit the rink to assist in a resolution. We welcome opportunities to educate the public about skating and hockey guidelines at our outdoor rinks. In addition to the Lambton Kingsway, there are nearby arenas such as Lambton Arena, Central Arena and the Park Lawn Bubble that offer staffed and supervised public skating.”
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