While the warm weather is a welcome change from the windchill as of late, it does mean that community outdoor rinks are at risk of closing.  

Jason Peters, Manager of Recreation and Community Services for the RM of Hanover says, the decision was made Monday afternoon, to close the New Bothwell outdoor rink. Peters explains.  

“So we're kind of touch-and-go, to be honest with you, on all of our rinks, right now they're all kind of day-to-day and maybe hour-by-hour at this point, but the New Bothwell rink in particular, we've decided to close down for the week.” 

Peters tells us why they decided to close that rink. 

“We have a special event coming up there on the weekend. So, it's a winter carnival day there on Saturday, and we want to make sure that we give the ice the best chance to be in good shape for that event. So, that was a preemptive move. But I anticipate with the weather we have coming; we'll probably be announcing other closures in the next 12 to 24 hours.” 

Regarding what’s too warm for an outdoor rink to stay open, Peters says,  

“It's a case-by-case basis. So, the orientation of the ice can make a difference, right? Depending on where the direct sunlight has been hitting. And so, then we'll make a decision based on safety first and foremost. If we feel like the ice is not safe to skate on, or if it's going to be damaged to a point that it will be hard for us to rebuild, that also is a challenge. And with the temperatures not dropping much below 0 at night, we do have to be a bit protective, but there is no magic temperature. Some rinks can just handle warmer weather better than others.”

Regarding the New Bothwell Winter Carnival this coming weekend, Peters says the plan is that it’s still a go.

“We're still full speed ahead.  Hopefully we do have the advantage of having that facility covered, which helps a little bit, because it keeps the warm sunlight off the ice. So, we're very hopeful that we'll still be able to have everything as scheduled. So, yeah, we are expecting to continue with the event.” 

Peters adds, regarding the other ODR’s in Hanover, right now there are no plans to cancel any of the outdoor rec hockey games in Blumenort.  

“But everything is relative, and then, based on the information we have at the time, some of the forecasts I've seen for midweek show some very warm weather and so, we'll wait and see if that happens and make a call then. I do know in Blumenort specifically, as well as Mitchell, the north end of the rink really took a beating yesterday (Sunday) in the warm weather. And so, when we make a decision on other outdoor rinks, we'll let you know, as that could impact programs that are running, but it's our hope that everything continues.” 

Meanwhile in the city of Steinbach, Manager of Parks and Rec, Russ Dyck says the outdoor rink at the corner of Elmdale and Barkman will remain open tonight. 

"But we're basically monitoring it on a day-to-day basis. So, we'll see how it goes. It is supposed to be plus temperatures over the next week, including over-nights. I do imagine that at some point we will be closing it." 

Dyck says they would close it to stop the ice from completely deteriorating from being used. He adds the closure would not be long term. 

"We do anticipate cooler temperatures in a week or so. Hopefully we can still have it open for a couple of weeks. Typically, our outdoor rink season ends at the end of February, early March. Sometimes mid-March if we're lucky." 

Dyck says, they want to make their ODR's are safe for skaters, firstly, but also, "If we are able to salvage it for an extra week or two by keeping it closed for a day or two, we'll do that."