Freezing rain may put All Star events at risk

After just one day of favourable skating conditions, the Rideau Canal Skateway closed for the second time in a week on Jan. 27 because of freezing rain.

Skaters were able to take advantage of the full 7.8 kilometres of ice surface when it opened Jan. 26, just in time for the NHL All-Star Weekend.

The ice conditions were watched carefully in anticipation of the event, said Jasmine Leduc, media relations officer with the National Capital Commission (NCC.) An ice safety team made sure the ice surface was 30 centimetres thick before the skateway was opened to the public for the festivities.

“Mother Nature sometimes co-operates with us, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Leduc said. “It co-operated for yesterday’s festivities.”

The poor ice conditions on the skateway have also forced the NHL to move the inaugural Energizer Night Skate to the newly-opened Rink of Dreams in front of City Hall.

There are no plans to move the Canadian Tire NHL Junior Skills National Championship, which is set to take place on the skateway Saturday afternoon, to a new location.

The NCC is hoping the temperature will drop overnight Friday so the surface can be reopened, said Leduc.

However, Environment Canada forecasts freezing rain and snow for Friday and Saturday.

A layer of snow could keep the canal skateway from freezing properly, making it unsafe, said Leduc.

A freezing rain warning is still in effect for the Ottawa area.