The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)

Chilliwack hockey parents want to be back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now signing a petition to loosen the rules

Chilliwack hockey parents are getting behind a petition to let them back into the rink to watch their children play.

The petition was started a week ago by someone named Jennifer B, and as of Tuesday morning 85 people had signed on.

It targets an edict by the City of Chilliwack, following guidance from the Provincial Health Authority, capping the number of people in a hockey venue at 50. Once two teams are in the building, accompanied by coaches and trainers, referees and score-keepers, there’s little or no capacity left for spectators.

“If we can go in numbers greater than the maximum put forth by the City of Chilliwack to places such as shopping malls and grocery stores we can certainly attend a minor hockey game, practicing mindful distancing and if you choose, to wear a mask,” the petition creator wrote. “It is very funny how we can have a school full of kids, all their teachers under one roof but not a rink full of kids and all their parents under one roof. Simply have the rink staff keep the washrooms disinfected and maintain mindful distance from one another.”

A parallel petition started by someone named Nicole Hicks is aimed at ViaSports, the governing body for amateur sports in B.C.

That one has 3,595 signatures to date.

“I full on ugly cried watching Dryden play his first game of the season on TV,” said Chilliwack hockey parent Consuelo Floystrup, who serves as health and safety officer for her daughter’s team but has to watch her son remotely. “Such mixed emotions! Happy he’s on the ice doing what he loves and grateful we have a hockey league, but heartbroken for all of our hockey community that we can’t be together.”

Floystrup said Chilliwack Minor Hockey parents are a tight-knit group, and she feels all of the local rinks are big enough to accomodate a physical-distancing solution. She also said there may be medical concerns. Both of her children have type-one diabetes and need their parents near by in case of emergencies.

Other people seem to agree, for various reasons, based on comments attached to both petitions.

“Children thrive knowing their parents are physically present and cheering for them at their sports activites,” wrote Fiona Ehrenholz.

“I understand the need to keep group numbers down, but I’m not sure that just saying 50 across the board for everything is the right answer,” Andrea Deen added. “The size of the location/venue should be considered. An arena seems like it would be plenty big enough for parents to distance.”

“The players and parents are separated by half-inch plexiglass. Come on,” Jason Weinberger said. “I feel safer at the rink than at Walmart. The rule should be six feet apart in the stands, end of story.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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