The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been forced to postpone one game and move another to Campbell River as the City of Port Aberni’s ice rink remains closed.
Repairs have been made to the Alberni Valley Multiplex’s ice plant refrigeration system, but the city is still waiting for approval from Technical Safety BC before they can reopen the ice rink.
The rink was shut down on Wednesday, Nov. 6 after a low-level ammonia alarm was activated. Two leaks were discovered in the same weld on a manufactured flange in the piping system, and after testing, a further nine subsurface fissures were discovered in the same weld.
“All of the repairs on the weld are complete and all subsequent testing of the chiller went well,” said director of Parks, Recreation and Heritage Willa Thorpe during a meeting of city council on Tuesday, Nov. 12. “We are ready to go, we’re just at this stage waiting for Technical Safety to confirm that we can start the ice plant.”
The ice plant was installed in April of this year, replacing the city’s almost 20-year-old chiller. The new chiller passed both sets of pressure inspections when it was initially fabricated and again after it was installed in the Multiplex.
Thorpe confirmed on Tuesday that the chiller is covered by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. Because the cracks were in a manufactured component, the repairs will be of no cost to the city. Thorpe plans to meet with both the manufacturer and the installer in the coming weeks to ensure that there will be no further service interruptions.
She added on Tuesday that she regrets the impact that the situation has had on users of the multiplex, including hockey teams and figure skaters.
“We’re in the middle of our ice season,” she said. “It’s very frustrating to see that there’s no ice in our multiplex at this stage.”
The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs announced on Tuesday evening that this weekend’s game against the Merritt Centennials on Friday, Nov. 15 has been postponed, while the Sunday, Nov. 17 game against the Trail Smoke Eaters has been moved to the Rod Brind’Amour Arena in Campbell River. The start time will be 2 p.m.
Bulldogs’ president David Michaud explained in a press release that due to Trail’s schedule, it would not be possible for them to return to Port Aberni later in the season.
“With no ice in the Multiplex, we were forced to balance our wants of playing in front of our fans and being good BCHL partners,” said Michaud. “We’re extremely disappointed to be in this position.”
The Bulldogs have also had to cancel their parent’s weekend, where the parents and families of Bulldogs players visit the Alberni Valley to watch their boys play.
Fans holding tickets for the postponed game against Merritt may use them for the rescheduled game when the date is announced, or exchange their paid tickets for any Bulldogs regular season game during the 2019-2020 season.
Season ticket holders and fans holding a game ticket for Sunday will have until 2 p.m. on Friday to pick up complimentary vouchers for the game in Campbell River. After Friday, the seats will be made available to the Campbell River public.
Tickets can be purchased online at albernivalleybulldogs.ca.