Ice will be available in arena two at the Port Moody recreation complex beginning Sept. 1 and in arena one by Sept. 26.
But that may not be soon enough for some groups.
Brian Wiebe, the general manager of the Port Moody Panthers junior hockey team — part of the Pacific Junior Hockey League — said even when the city’s arenas do open, other restrictions could force the team to play its games elsewhere once the league begins its 44-game regular season schedule on Sept. 29.
Some of those restrictions include no access to change rooms or drinking water, as well as limits on the numbers of players and coaches on the ice at any one time.
“We still need clarification from the city on a couple of the restrictions in place,” Wiebe said, adding discussions with the city are ongoing.
Already, the team is holding its main training camp at the Langley Sportsplex beginning Sunday, and rookies are gathering at Planet Ice in Coquitlam beginning today.
Prior to a city council meeting on July 28, representatives from Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association (PMAHA) and Port Moody Oldtimers Hockey Association (PMOHA) implored the city to prioritize the reopening of the ice surfaces after they were closed last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Torben Nelson said it’s important for the 400 kids in the PMAHA to get back on the ice to restore “a sense of normalcy.”
Earlier in July, the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, which governs 42 minor hockey associations from Hope to Seattle, including PMAHA, issued a statement that its return to play protocols would be in place in time for recreational and rep hockey seasons.
“We are well positioned for a successful season start in September,” it said.
Craig Miwa, the president of PMOHA, said his group’s approximately 200 players over the age of 35 would have their physical, social and mental well-being adversely affected if its season couldn’t proceed as it has for the past 36 seasons.
He said the group has its plan for returning to play ready to go, but “for that to even have a chance, there must be access to ice.”
Meanwhile, members of the Port Moody curling club will have to wait until at least January to get back onto the ice, according to a press release issued by the city.
Other programs at the rec complex, like indoor yoga and personal training sessions, are expected to be available this month, while limited indoor fitness classes, pickleball and badminton court rentals, as well as use of the weight room by appointment, could open in September.
In Coquitlam, registered access to the arenas and gyms at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, as well as the pool at the City Centre Aquatic Complex, is expected to start on Aug. 10
The new Port Coquitlam Community Centre, which includes two arenas, an aquatic centre and fitness gyms, remains closed until further notice, as does the city’s Hyde Creek recreation centre.