New Brunswick

Dieppe hockey tournament plans change after province bars major events

The City of Dieppe says one of the first large events at its new UNIplex arena will go ahead over the holidays, but has been scaled back after the province barred tournaments until at least mid-January.

City says booked ice time was pared by 80 per cent

The UNIplex two-sheet arena was set to host a hockey tournament over the holidays that's been scaled back to what organizers say will be a skills development camp. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

The City of Dieppe says one of the first large events at its new UNIplex arena will go ahead over the holidays, but has been scaled back after the province barred tournaments until at least mid-January.

Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Department of Health, says officials will monitor the event planned for Dec. 27 to 30. 

East Coast Ice had promoted a tournament at the recently completed dual-sheet arena, promising that each team that paid the $1,399 registration fee would play at least four to six games.

On Dec. 22, Public Health changed the rules around sports and COVID-19, saying tournaments, bonspiels or major events cannot take place.

Josh Andrews, president of East Coast Ice, told CBC News that the company changed from a tournament format to a skills-development camp to comply with COVID-19 rules.

Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said the city is OK with the event going ahead. He said his understanding is that only teams from the Moncton health zone will take part. 

Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said the city is OK with the event going ahead, and that his understanding is that only teams from the Moncton health zone will participate. (CBC News file photo)

He said the ice time booked for the event was cut by 80 per cent. 

"It cost us a lot of money with cancelled ice," Lapierre said.

A new promotional poster for East Coast Ice's Holiday Game Sense Skills Development Camp event says it will feature two days of "game situation skills" and 60 to 80 minutes of "game situations."

Macfarlane told CBC on Dec. 23 that "game situations" aren't allowed within tournaments.

On Dec. 24, he said in an email that it was the department's understanding that the tournament portion of the event has been cancelled.

The Department of Health, Public Health, the Department of Public Safety and the City of Dieppe are in communication and will monitor the situation, he said.

Nic Jansen, the executive director of Hockey NB, said the Dieppe event isn't sanctioned through the organization, as East Coast Ice is a private company.

Atlantic Hockey Group had also been planning a hockey tournament expected to include 55 teams from across New Brunswick playing in Moncton arenas over five days. 

However, it has scrubbed its plans. 

"In compliance with the latest Public Health guidelines regarding sports tournaments and events, the Atlantic Hockey Group has postponed our Atlantic 2-Line event until further notice," Brandon Bourgeois, a technical director with the company, said in an email. 

With files from Isabelle Leger

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