WEST CARLETON – After months of preparing the rinks and assessing the health risks, the West Carleton Outdoor Hockey League has decided to cancel the 2021 outdoor hockey league season.

“We suppose it comes with no surprise to confirm that sadly, this year’s outdoor rink season possibilities have come to a close,” the league’s convenors released in a statement yesterday (Feb. 7). “While we tried to maneuver around the pandemic, the provincial lockdown and remaining winter months, made it difficult to turn this year into a reality.”

With COVID-19 rules and regulations changing daily, league volunteer organizers have had to roll with the ever-changing landscape. As recently as Dec. 14, volunteers were hopeful they would be able to host a season in what is know as one of Canada’s oldest and longest running outdoor hockey leagues.

While early in December, the Ottawa area was starting to open up to recreational activities. Currenty, for the last two weeks, the Ottawa area has been in a lockdown and shinny has been banned from Ottawa’s outdoor rinks. Even bringing a hockey stick on to an ODR, can result in a fine.

The WCOHL has been a popular hockey option for boys and girls from age five to 15 in West Carleton for more than 40 years.

The league plays in Carp, Fitzroy Harbour, Constance Bay and Dunrobin as soon as it’s cold enough to freeze water and runs for as long as it is cold enough to freeze water.

The league is volunteer-run and fees are about $70 per season. The environment is co-ed, recreational, non-contact and non-competitive. The season usually runs from January to March.

“We hope you are having the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with your families and we look forward to revitalizing our precious ODR league next year,” organizers said. “Stay healthy, warm, and safe.”