An Ottawa minor hockey team is travelling across the border to get a bargain on cheap, premium ice time following a shortage of rink space in the nation’s capital.
On Saturday, the West End Wolverines Minor Atoms travelled to Ogdensburg, New York, about one hour south of Ottawa.
There, the 10-year-olds get two hours on the ice during peak time — 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon — for less than half the price of an Ottawa rink.
“I mean, we’re not going to do it every weekend, but I think we’re going to do it again,” said team coach Hugh Gorman.
“It’s a quick short drive. Thought we’d make a bit of a road trip of it for the boys,” said Gorman. “They think it’s kind of cool to come and play hockey in the States.”
Less than half the cost of home ice
The peak times for practice ice are early evenings during the week and afternoons on weekends. With less minor hockey in New York, ice is often available and at a fraction of the cost.
Ice time typically costs $168/hour in the Ottawa area compared to $80/hour in Ogdensburg, New York.
“It is taking a day, it is a big chunk of time,” said parent Dan St. Cyr, who drove some members of the team down. But even with travel costs — gas and food — it is still the most cost-effective option.
"Going through customs was easy too. It was quite the breeze," said St. Cyr. "It's exciting for [the kids]. It's a road trip and they like it."
The team has already booked three more practices across the border.