Bell Capital Cup cancels outdoor games due to extreme cold

Bell Capital Cup organizers have cancelled all outdoor games on Parliament Hill due to extreme cold weather but the rink remains open for public skating sessions.

Public skating sessions remain open and officials with the Canada 150 rink have added additional sessions

Skaters take to the ice on Parliament Hill briefly Wednesday morning before games were moved to indoor rinks. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Wednesday's outdoor games on Parliament Hill for the Bell Capital Cup have been cancelled, due to the extreme cold weather. The matches were moved to indoor venues, including the Canadian Tire Centre.

With the frigid temperatures expected to continue this week, organizers have moved games on Thursday and Friday from the Canada 150 rink to the Kinburn Sensplex.

The bitter cold caused the ice on the rink to crack, leaving deep ruts on the surface. The Canada 150 rink project costs $5.6 million, about half of which went to the design and construction of the rink. 

The rink does remain open for previously scheduled public skates, and officials have opened additional sessions between Thursday and New Year's Eve.

People can reserve a skate time on the Canada 150 rink website. 

Ottawa Public Health upgraded its frostbite advisory to a warning Wednesday morning, meanwhile, Environment Canada issued an extreme cold weather warning for Ottawa. The weather agency said in a bulletin wind chill temperatures will reach –35 or lower during the evening.

OPH said exposed skin can freeze in less than 10 minutes and is urging residents to wear multiple layers if heading outside. 

Officials inspect ice conditions at the outdoor rink on Parliament Hill. The games there have been moved to indoor rinks because the extreme cold makes the ice brittle. (Kimberley Molina/CBC )

"Ultimately, it comes down to the ice surface and it comes down to player safety and really that's what this is. The ice became too brittle," said Aaron Robinson, board member of the Ottawa International Hockey Festival.

"We can't warm the ice up so it became an issue where the ice was cracking in certain locations."

The Bell Capital Cup invited 32 teams from across Canada — 16 girls teams and 16 boys teams — to play in a special Canada 150 division of the annual hockey championship. Youth between the ages of nine and 12 were supposed to play 40 pee wee and atom games on the special rink Wednesday through Dec. 31.

The Brampton Canadettes and the Kanata Rangers made it through the first period of the 10:10 a.m. game Wednesday before it was called off. The game will resume again at the Canadian Tire Centre at 9 p.m., Robinson said.  

The earlier 8 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. games were preemptively cancelled due to the cold weather and will be rescheduled. 

A bundled up spectator watches from the stands at the outdoor rink on Parliament Hill. (Brian Morris/CBC)

'It's disappointing'

Michelle McDonell's daughter, Macy, plays for the Nepean Wildcats and was supposed to play her first outdoor game Wednesday, but it was cancelled. 

"It's disappointing. It's an amazing opportunity for the girls to play on … a Canadian landscape. So, I was very excited for them to have that opportunity," she said. 

She said it wasn't all bad news, though, since her daughter now gets to play Canada's game inside the CTC, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. She's also keeping her fingers crossed that the final match will go ahead on Parliament Hill. 

Bell Capital Cup general manager Scott Lawryk told CBC News on Tuesday Bell Capital Cup officials had always planned to move games indoors if the weather became too cold for the outdoor games. 

The addition of an outdoor rink on Parliament Hill underneath the Peace Tower was supposed to be a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for the kids, Lawryk said, to coincide with Canada 150 celebrations. 

"We couldn't think of a more iconic Canadian image than that so it just made perfect sense to us," he said. 


  • A previous version of this article did not accurately report the cost of the rink. The Canada 150 rink project costs $5.6 million, about half ($2.37 million) of which went to the design and construction of the rink.
    Dec 28, 2017 4:57 PM ET