Recently-opened Napanee, Ont., arena extremely busy — even in summer

Click to play video: 'Napanee arena extremely busy since reopening earlier this month'
Napanee arena extremely busy since reopening earlier this month
WATCH: Skaters back on the ice in Napanee as arena reopens – Aug 13, 2020

You wouldn’t think there’d be a big demand for hockey rinks in the summer, but it seems skaters are itching to get some ice time.

The Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee has reopened one of its ice pads and it’s busy. In fact, the facility is the first municipally run arena in the Kingston region to do so.

Read more: ‘Wonderful’ pilot project in Kingston teaches kids to skate

“It tells us … we have a first-class staff combined with a first-class facility and it’s a shame to see it sit empty if we can put the protocols in place, if we can give people a chance to get out and get some exercise,” said Napanee Mayor Marg Isbester.

“And I’m not going to say that some revenue doesn’t hurt us.”

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Since the one pad opened earlier this month, it’s been wall-to-wall usage.

“We’re booked solid seven days a week pretty much from 7 a.m. right until to 11 p.m. and that included Saturday and Sunday, which is a little bit more then we’ve ever had in the month of August,” said Chris Brown, Napanee’s facilities manager.

“But certainly it’s a good problem to have.”

Read more: Adults learn to ice skate at Kingston’s Market Square

The mayor mentioned protocols and there are plenty of them. Whether it’s a reminder at the front entrance to mask up, numerous hand-sanitizing stations or social distancing stickers on the floor, Brown says safety is the first priority.

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“When you come into the room you’re wearing your mask,” Brown said.

“You wear your mask while you get ready and we have the markings on the bench so that you physical distance from the participants that you’re out on the ice with.”

The mayor stresses anyone using the facility must follow the rules or they’ll be asked to leave.

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