The rapidly changing state of hockey in the GTA

Kathryn Brown, research manager for the Central Ice Group at Northern Ontario Institute of Technology, said traditional winter activities such as skating are ramping up again. “Once we get to November and December there’s…

The rapidly changing state of hockey in the GTA

Kathryn Brown, research manager for the Central Ice Group at Northern Ontario Institute of Technology, said traditional winter activities such as skating are ramping up again. “Once we get to November and December there’s a bit of a groundswell of people coming in and saying ‘we’ve been waiting to get on a machine. We’ve had to wait since September or October.’”

Following the roller derby that injured 15 people last month, many players worried this past weekend that the rock concert at Rogers Arena might be marred by similar injuries. The warning lights remained bright, but there were no major incidents.

It’s better to train participants. Even the National Hockey League has been moving more hockey games indoors in the last few years. Sure, that means having to dress players in winter coats and boots, but it should also mean more injuries avoided.

Each year,, the Central Ice Group estimates the total number of rink-related injuries in the GTA. Last season, there were 1,718 occurrences, which amounts to an average of eight injuries per rink and one injury every 33 hours.

The trends help define just how much people are exercising these days. According to 2016 data released by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, Canadians spend an average of about eight and a half hours a week active. A majority of that activity is time spent not exercising — during commuting, shopping, driving to work or watching TV — and no one wants to be among those numbers.

So, what are folks doing differently? Popular spectator sports such as ice hockey and roller derby are really popular this time of year — while the only competitors are robots.

People from four different local teams took part in the inaugural Ontario Roller Derby Bulldogs exhibition on Tuesday. It was an afternoon with so much going on, they barely realized they were being entertained. “I’m not sure how we know it’s Halloween,” quipped Kelsey Parker, a rookie roller derby player, sporting a skeleton-textured Kevlar jacket with her team. “It’s pretty scary being out there.”

On the rink, Parker and her team mates push each other’s bodies across the ice before finding the speed required to accelerate at speed. “I just feel a whole lot of adrenaline,” she said. “I really need a nap after practice.”

On the ice, 2018 Premier Roller Derby was losing to their 2018 Conference rivals, the Rob Hershberger (now the leader in the league). Hershberger’s other job is president of the Toronto Red Wings — who play across the street in Maple Leaf Gardens.

Her management might allow for a little sleep.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that fans are no longer the primary concern. He is looking to the future. He is expecting to see professional hockey games staged in Toronto for the first time since the end of the Maple Leafs’ NHL dynasty in 1993.

At the end of the night, fans had little to complain about. Even if all those injuries did prompt the cancellation of some future events, new events will hopefully follow soon.

Related

Court orders Canada’s national hockey league to pay $25 million in pension theft suit

Stars stick to the guns to give back to family

Leave a Comment