Sudbury's foggy arena sparks OHL concerns

The Ontario Hockey League has been worrying about Sudbury Arena this week, after the Sudbury Wolves home opener was fogged out last Friday.

Ontario Hockey League writes letter to city of Sudbury after homeopener cancelled

The Sudbury Wolves' home opener was cancelled last week due to excessive humidity, which caused thick fog on the ice. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

The Ontario Hockey League has been worrying about Sudbury Arena this week, after the Sudbury Wolves home opener was fogged out last Friday.

The 62-year-old arena's ventilation system was unable to clear the air on the humid evening.

A Zamboni works on the ice at the Sudbury Arena while arena staff squeegee the windows. The Sudbury Wolves will make a second attempt at having a home opener on Friday, after the game was cancelled due to excess humidity last week. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

The league wrote to the hockey team and the city this week, because its concerned that other games might have to be rescheduled.

Sudbury Wolves president Blaine Smith said the OHL hates to have to re-draw its schedule.

He says the Sudbury Arena first caught the league's attention last year when an exhibition game was shelved due to electrical malfunctions.

"These are things that the league kind of wants to know what's going on and what the plan is moving forward, both short-term and long-term,” he said.

‘Dragging our feet?’

Short-term, the city is looking at upgrades to help the Sudbury Arena better handle humidity and, long-term, there is talk of building a new rink — for as much as $60 million.

Ontario Hockey League players skate through thick fog on the ice at the Sudbury Arena. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

But that talk has been going on for a few years now around the city council table and it's frustrating councillor Fabio Belli.

"Are we dragging our feet? In my mind I am, I don't know how everyone else feels. We gotta get the ball rolling and now's the time to do it."

Belli added he hopes the OHL’s letter will push plans for a new Sudbury Arena up the priority list.

In the meantime, Smith said he's feeling more like someone who runs a football or baseball team.

"Well, I've never really looked at the weather as often as I have now."

He’s hoping the old rink won't get in the way of Friday's Wolves game. The Sudbury Wolves second attempt at a home opener against the Barrie Colts starts at 7:30 p.m.

Belli said he also hopes that game goes ahead, “because we'll really have some upset people in the community. I hear that the air conditioning has been cranked up and we're not going to have a problem."

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