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New Jersey Freezes Indoor Hockey for the Month of December

In his regularly scheduled COVID-19 briefing, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced:

All indoor youth and adult sports are being placed on a full pause – effective 6:00 AM on December 5th through January 2nd, 2021.

We’re seeing outbreaks related to indoor sports, and this will help slow the spread.

Only exceptions: collegiate-level and professional teams. — @GovMurphy on Twitter

NJ Governor Murphy Announcing Ban on Ice Hockey
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announcing a ban on ice hockey for the month of December 2020.

Murphy’s announcement was followed a few minutes later by a statement from Dr. Edward Lifshitz, Medical Director of the New Jersey Department of Health, where he said that 20 outbreaks constituting more than 100 cases have been associated with youth hockey. Dr. Lifshitz was speaking at the same briefing.

NJ Health Director Lifshitz Announcing Ban on Ice Hockey
NJ Health Director Dr. Lifshitz said 20 outbreaks consisting of 100 total cases are attributable to ice hockey.

Percentage of New Jersey Cases Attributable to Ice Hockey: 3/100 of 1%

According to statistics provided by NJ.com on November 25, “New Jersey has now reported 313,863 total positive tests out of more than 5.7 million administered since the state reported its first case March 4.”

This means that roughly 0.031861035%– That’s 3/100 of 1%– of New Jersey COVID-19 cases are associated with youth hockey.

Percentage of New Jersey Cases Where Patient Refuses to Provide Contacts Upon Request from a Health Department Contact Tracer: 69 Percent

I knew from back in September that the Middletown Township Health Department had experienced issues with getting members of the hockey community to comply with requests for contact tracing.

However, until today I didn’t know that 69 percent of all patients in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey refuse to participate in contact tracing.

If 69% of all COVID-19 cases don’t comply, the hockey community is not the problem.

Here is the slide from Governor Murphy’s presentation documenting the 69-percent figure:



Refused to provide contacts (of cases followed up) 69 percent
Refused to provide contacts (of cases followed up) 69 percent, source https://twitter.com/GovMurphy/status/1333460689231482889.


Jordan Valley Ice Park Closed Due to Failure of Second Ice Plant

The Springfield News-Leader reported on Monday that Jordan Valley Ice Park closed due to the failure of the facility’s temporary ice plant. The ice at the two-sheet arena complex, located about 215 miles southwest of St. Louis, will be down for at least the next three weeks.

RinkAtlas doesn’t like to criticize an arena complex without fairly deep analysis of the building and its operations. But consider what we learned about Jordan Valley Ice Park from reading one article about it:

  • The permanent ice plant at this facility was installed in 2001 when the arena was new. It was taken off-line about a year ago for upgrades and maintenance.
  • At that time, a temporary ice plant was installed behind the building.
  • That temporary ice plant is the one that failed.

Jordan Valley Ice Park is not the only facility in North America running long-term on a temporary ice plant. For instance, Loucks Ice Center at Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ has been running on a temporary ice plant for several years.

We get concerned when it appears that a year-round facility installs a temporary ice plant without a concrete plan to re-install permanent ice-making equipment within a finite time period. The reason for this concern is that it’s tough to do contingency planning around the outage of a temporary ice plant, because loss of a temporary ice plant sometimes results in extended downtime.

This is the case with Jordan Valley. The silver lining is that this problem is happening during the pandemic, when most rinks operations are already significantly constrained.

RinkAtlas Arena Directory Changes

  • Jordan Valley Ice Park, renamed facility. For a while it was referred to as Mediacom Ice Park, but it has apparently reverted to its original name. Added “Mediacom Ice Park” as a previous name. Added references to two 200-by-85-foot surfaces that opened January 1, 2001 (January 1 is the date we choose when we know that an arena opened in a specific year, but we do not know the specific date). Changed the URL for the arena complex’s website to https://www.parkboard.org/icepark.

Riverview Ice House in Rockford Now Expected to Survive

WIFR TV reported the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners decided to renovate Riverview Ice House, rather than close it. This decision came after an outpouring of support from the local hockey community, including a Change.org petition signed by almost 1,000 people.

RinkAtlas previously reported on the plan to close Riverview and consolidate rink operations at Carlson Ice Arena.

Rockford Park District Seeking $6 Million to Offset Renovation Costs

One of the outcomes of the Hockey Community’s lobbying efforts are that Rockford Park District believes that it can raise $6 million to modernize and renovate Riverview Ice House, so it will not have to

Jay Sandine, Rockford Park District Executive Director, reportedly said, “We love Riverview Ice House and are proud of the heavy investment the District has made over the years in the heart of the city and downtown Rockford. We would love to keep Riverview Ice House open for generation after generation to enjoy. This facility is an important part of our history, and remains a priority today but we need help so we can have strong neighborhoods and strong facilities for years to come.”

Thanks to Frank Casalena for pointing out this important update.


NH Ice Arenas to Reopen October 30, COVID-19 Tests for All Participants by November 6

On Saturday, The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that NH ice arenas will reopen on October 30 with the requirement that hockey organizations test their volunteers, coaches, staff, referees and athletes by November 6.

According to the article, “Rink staff, volunteers, coaches, staff, referees and athletes must all show they were tested for COVID-19 at least once between Oct. 15 and Nov. 6. The test can be either a normal PCR test or a rapid-result antigen test. The only exception for the testing requirement is for people who tested positive for COVID-19 between July 15 and Oct. 15.”

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu reportedly ordered the simultaneous reopening and testing over objections by both sides to certain dimensions of proposals to reopen. The Division of Public Health apparently wanted all participants tested before any ice arenas reopened. The Governor’s Economic Recovery Taskforce wanted the rinks reopened as soon as possible without any mandated COVID-19 tests.

Other rules imposed on ice arenas and hockey programs remain largely similar to before the lockdown.

Massachusetts Orders Rinks to Close Through November 7 To Control COVID-19

WCVB reports Massachusetts public health officials ordered all indoor ice rinks to close through November 7, reportedly in order to try to control “numerous outbreaks of COVID-19 that were traced back to hockey games”.

The Department of Public Health press release says, “There have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities involving residents from more than 60 municipalities in Massachusetts. Each of these includes two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totaling 108 confirmed cases.”

Massachusetts joins nearby New Hampshire in locking down indoor ice arenas, although New Hampshire’s lockdown expires on October 29.

Massachusetts local arenas must close by 5:00pm Eastern Time on Friday.

This order specifically exempts college and professional programs.

Thanks to Don Warren for pointing out this important story.

Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center Opens at Colby College

US College Hockey Online reported that Colby College opened the new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center which had been under construction for some time. One of the largest parts of this project is the 1796-seat Ice Arena, which is the home of both the men’s and women’s varsity hockey team.

Colby published a nice pictorial on the Ice Arena, which shows that it has great lighting and nightlines.

RinkAtlas Arena Directory Updates

University of Illinois Ice Arena Shut Down Since the Beginning of the Summer

The Daily Illini reported Monday that University Ice Arena has been closed since the beginning of the Summer, and this is causing ice sports teams and clubs to seek intermediate-term homes for practice and competition.

According to the article, “Sports affected by the closure include the University men’s and women’s hockey clubs, the synchronized skating club team and the regional speed skating club…. The lobby of the Ice Arena is currently being used as a COVID-19 testing site, and the ice of the rink has been melted down since the start of the summer.”

The University of Illinois announced before the academic year began that the Ice Arena would remain closed for the rest of calendar year 2020.

As with many arena closures in the less densely populated areas of the Midwest, alternative arenas for these organizations are relatively far away. Instead of University Ice Arena on campus, the Men’s ACHA Division II team is looking at tryouts and practices at Bloomington Ice Center in Bloomington, IL, an hour drive northwest of campus, or IceValley Centre Ice Arena in Kankakee, IL, an hour and 15 minutes north of campus.

RinkAtlas Arena Directory Updates

  • University Ice Arena, we relocated the rink on the north side of East Armory Avenue rather than the south, we added alternative names to improve search, we added 1931 as the year it opened, the ice surface dimensions of 192 x 115 feet, which is 8 feet shorter and 15 feet wider than an Olympic surface, and we added the seating capacity, which is 1,200.
  • Bloomington Ice Center, we renamed this arena from Pepsi Ice Center. We also updated the website to its new URL.
  • IceValley Centre, we renamed this arena from OAK Orthopedic Sports Arena. We also updated the website to its new URL.


Vermont Freezes Ice Rink Schedules for 2 Weeks Through October 30

The Newport Daily Express reported Sunday that Vermont Governor Phil Scott ordered Vermont ice rinks to stop accepting ice rentals from 5:00pm October 16 through midnight October 30. According to the article, Governor Scott said the directive is intended to prevent an influx of new users from high risk areas into Vermont’s ice rinks.

Governor Scott’s order may be the most interesting executive order governing ice rinks in effect in the United States. Rather than ordering Vermont ice arenas to close for two weeks, he ordered them to stop accepting new ice rentals during that period.

Governor Scott said, “As of today {Friday, October 16}, New Hampshire’s skating facilities were closed by their governor for two weeks in response to outbreaks that have resulted in 158 cases of COVID-19 among 23 different ice hockey teams. In addition, there is an outbreak in central Vermont that may be connected to the outbreaks in New Hampshire. To reduce the risk to Vermonters, and to help sustain the progress we have made, rinks in Vermont may not take any additional reservations for the next two weeks.”

The Vermont order only makes sense in the context of the order issued by Governor Sununu of New Hampshire. Since New Hampshire has closed all arenas for two weeks, it’s likely that some New Hampshire-based amateur hockey organizations would try to avoid the lockdown by booking ice in nearby Vermont to continue their seasons as scheduled.

Rather than close Vermont arenas, Governor Scott is prohibiting new reservations, which prevents anyone from booking new ice for the next two weeks. But the existing holders of ice reservations may continue with their plans.

Since Maine is also locked down to some extent, this move by Governor Scott forces New Hampshire hockey teams to live with the temporary restrictions now in place in New Hampshire.

Although it may be a deftly-crafted executive order by Governor Scott, none of these actions in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are pro-hockey.


On October 19, Vermont’s Department of Health announced it had been investigating COVID-19 associated with hockey and broomball leagues at Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center. According to the press release:

“The Health Department has been investigating cases associated with adult and youth hockey leagues and an adult broomball league. Each of the teams practiced or played at the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier earlier this month. At this time there are 30 confirmed cases associated with the outbreak.” — Vermont Department of Health Press Release

As a result of this finding the VT Health Department set up a pop-up testing clinic to be held on Thursday, October 22 at Barre Auditorium for asymptomatic “people with direct links to the teams and their close contacts”. There would also be special testing clinic from Tuesday to Friday at Central Vermont Medical Center’s (CVMC) Acute Respiratory Clinic at 1311 Montpelier-Barre Road in Berlin. These tests are for “asymptomatic people who have concerns about potential exposure”.

RinkAtlas Arena Directory Update

Repairs to DiLungo Veterans Memorial Ice Rink in East Haven CT Estimated at $1.3M

The New Haven Register reported on October 8 that repairs to repairs to The Pasquale G. “Patsy” DiLungo Veterans Memorial Ice Rink in East Haven may cost $1.3 million. This is the Recreation Department’s estimate of the cost to repair the refrigeration system that is reportedly leaking glycol.

Town Attorney Michael Luzzi reportedly said that the town contacted, “three or four groups that do rinks {including the one that recently repaired New Haven’s Ralph Walker outdoor rink} so we have a pretty good ballpark figure for what this item will be. The general structural package … we believe it will fall well within what we’re asking for, if not less.”

Many of the town council members quoted in the article participated in hockey themselves, or members of their family do, so it appears that there is considerable political support for moving the project forward.

Town Council approved a larger $2.57 million bonding authorization that included funding for capital projects for the police and fire departments, and improvements to the town landfill. This rink project should fit within that bond issue.

Patsy DiLungo Veterans Memorial Ice Arena is believed to be a single-sheet indoor ice arena in East Haven, Connecticut, about 40 miles south of Hartford. RinkAtlas is looking for information confirming the number and size of ice sheets, and the year when it originally opened.

New Hampshire Governor Pauses Amateur Hockey Statewide for Two Weeks

The New Hampshire Union-Leader reported that New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu ordered a two-week statewide shutdown of all indoor ice rinks. This is because the state identified “six ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks among hockey teams that spread to two dozen public schools”. Amateur hockey and college rinks should be able to reopen on Thursday, October 29. According to the article:

Over the past two months, the state has identified 158 cases of players and staff contracting COVID-19, including 117 linked directly to eight different outbreaks from youth hockey and another 41 cases tied to that activity. –Dr. Benjamin Chan {paraphrased by Kevin Landrigan, NH Union-Leader}

Dr. Benjamin Chan, the New Hampshire State Epidemiologist reportedly said, “We haven’t seen a lot of spread and transmission from other sports. It appears to be associated with hockey.”

This decision comes in the aftermath of last week’s discovery of a COVID-19 outbreak associated with three teams playing out of The Rinks at Exeter. The initial scope of this outbreak was 12 players who are age 16 plus one staff member from the Seacoast Performance Academy. Two teams of 14 and 15-year-old players were also shutdown as a precaution. At the time, it was thought that the earliest date that players could return was October 19.

In fact COVID-19 cases associated with hockey practice have been breaking out in New Hampshire at least since late August, as we discussed here on RinkAtlas.

Reaction to Governor’s Order is Swift on Twitter

Many members of the New Hampshire Hockey Community reacted angrily to Governor Sununu’s order. Here are a few examples:

Which is not say that some weren’t in favor of his decision:

Note to Readers

Due to a Twitter service interruption, the tweet we tried to send in the five o’clock Eastern Time hour could not be sent until almost 9pm: