First weekend back: Lethbridge ATB Centre rinks open for bookings as swimmers head to Stan Siwik

Young hockey players from Southern Alberta Battle took to the ice at the ATB Centre in Lethbridge over the weekend.

Parry Shockey, one of the instructors for the program, said the kids haven’t had the opportunity to partake in activities like this in months due to facility closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think that these kids are going home in a totally different state of mind than they’ve been in for the last three months,” he said on Saturday, adding the 2009 group skated during two practices in one day.

“They pushed through, which means they have some resiliency.”

According to the City of Lethbridge, the rinks have to be booked ahead of time and no open skating or individual skating is permitted at this time.

No other areas of the ATB Centre are open yet, including viewing areas.

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In an effort to keep the system running smoothly, skaters are asked to arrive fully dressed and proceed through the proper section of caution tape. A separate entrance and exit are cordoned off for both rinks and staff sanitize surfaces consistently.

“They’ve done a tremendous job,” said Dino Caputo, owner of Southern Alberta Battle and High Performance Hockey. “They have a plan, everyone follows the plan and we just go through it.”

“Once you get on the ice, it’s the same thing. Just before and after is a little different.”

After the second practice of the day, the players were tired and excited.

“It was really fun just to get back on the ice,” said Parker Bishoff. “I thought I would be a bit more tired than I was, but I didn’t really take a big hit from it.”

“It’s a bit tiring, but it’s fun as well,” Cash Walker said. “Haven’t done it in a while.”

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Along with the ice rinks, city pools are starting to open as well.

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Stan Siwik Pool on 15 Avenue N. is the first city pool to begin welcoming swimmers again and will be followed by Henderson Pool on July 19.

Before swimming, patrons must book a 60-, 90- or 120-minute time slot online or over the phone. They are asked to arrive in their swimming attire as no lockers or change rooms are in use.

Prior to entering the facility, they must complete a screening to ensure they do not have symptoms or known contact with COVID-19.

Pool capacity has also been reduced:

The centre will also start offering swimming lessons beginning on July 27. More information on city pools can be found here.

At this time, the following facilities remain closed:

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