Winter activities are looking different this year with COVID-19 restrictions. Masks must be worn, groups can only gather within their 10-person bubble and social events can no longer occur.
Zack Tompkins, a 25-year-old truck driver, has enjoyed ice skating and playing hockey since learning to walk. For him, going to rinks hasn’t been the same.
“I’ve only been twice this year but we’re not doing it anymore because of COVID,” said Tompkins, referring to a local pickup league he usually attends with friends.
Tompkins has now been going to a nearby pond to enjoy the sport he loves most.
“I enjoy playing hockey more outside, it’s nice with the fresh air. It’s just a different feeling compared to being trapped in a rink,” he said.
There are three city-run outdoor rinks in Fredericton. Though locals have also been making their own outdoor rinks for their neighbourhoods, COVID-19 measures must still be followed. Instead of listening to the rules and regulations of those rinks, hockey fan Carcyn Lemon looks for an isolated pond to practice on.
“The start of this winter really wasn’t that cold, so it took a while for ponds to freeze over good enough to be able to play on,” Lemon, 21, said.
She now has been getting out as much as possible. She’s played hockey for the last 17 years and wasn’t planning on allowing the pandemic to stop her from enjoying it. Being a student at the Maritime College of Forest Technology, a break in the fresh air to enjoy the sport is needed.
“Getting to be outside enjoying what the earth has to offer to use rather than being stuck inside a building,” she said.
Lemon said she feels it’s important to continue to get out and do the things she enjoys, but finds herself missing the social aspect. With the orange phase in effect, gathering with friends is more difficult.
“Nothing beats getting together with friends outside on a pond,” Lemon said. “Sure, playing hockey with a team in a facility is nice but it will never compare to a beautiful day spent with friends outdoors.”