Pond hockey dreams iced over safety concerns

Jesse Richard is pictured on the snowed-in pond hockey rink he maintains behind his house in...

Jesse Richard is pictured on the snowed-in pond hockey rink he maintains behind his house in Chestermere, Alta., on December 4, 2013. (Lyle Aspinall/QMI Agency)

Michael Platt, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

CALGARY - Christmas, so far, is still a go.

But thanks to a few grinchy folk working for the Town of Chestermere, dreams of turning frozen storm ponds into a winter wonderland for amateur hockey are completely sunk — stolen, as it were.

The great Canadian pastime, iced for good over ever-increased paranoia about safety and lawsuits — and even though other Alberta towns still allow hockey on their storm ponds, Chestermere says it’s just too risky.

And worse, because one group dared to officially ask permission to build rinks, a long-standing winter tradition in the town just east of Calgary has been kiboshed for all.

In Chestermere, there will be no further skating, shinny or sliding on the pond ice, inviting as a six-inch slab of frozen fun may seem.

“At the December 2, 2013 Council meeting, staff explained the danger to the public of permitting recreational activities on storm ponds and the liability to the Town as per legal advice.

“As such, the Town would not be permitting these activities on any storm ponds.”

That’s the frosty wording of the town’s official release on the matter, following an attempt to establish a pond hockey league in Chestermere — the Chestermere Pond Hockey League did everything right, from ice testing to insurance, but the answer is still no.

“The town has effectively quashed the entire project, citing safety concerns,” said Jesse Richard, the league’s organizer.


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