St. La­zare teens ous­ted from pu­blic ice rink

Dads cry foul as Vau­dreuil team­takes over

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS TO THE EDITOR -

Town trying to help

Some St. La­zare fa­thers are pro­tes­ting what they say was un­fair treat­ment when lo­cal tee­na­gers were ous­ted from a pu­blic ice rink last week for an or­ga­ni­zed team practice.

The pro­blem, say the dads, is the team that dis­pla­ced as ma­ny as 15 lo­cal boys playing lastWed­nes­day on a pu­blic ho­ckey rink at Bé­dard Park was from Vau­dreuil-Do­rion.

Ad­ding in­sult to in­ju­ry, ac­cor­ding to wit­nesses, the teens were not as­ked ni­ce­ly to leave the rink.

“These are good kids and this is their pu­blic park,” Ga­ry MacDo­well, who went to the park to skate with his two young sons, said of the St. La­zare teens.

“There were 12 to 15 boys playing shin­ny (pick-up) ho­ckey when an Atom A team from Vau­dreuil sho­wed up and told them (St. La­zare’s re­crea­tion di­rec­tor) had au­tho­ri­zed the ice time,” he said.

The “ob­vious­ly up­set” boys mo­ved their game to a se­cond Bé­dard ho­ckey rink, though one re­ser­ved for younger players.

Ac­cor­ding to the town’s web­site, age res­tric­tions ap­ply at the two ho­ckey rinks.

‘To en­sure the players’ sa­fe­ty, one ice rink is re­ser­ved for players aged 12 and up, while ano­ther one is re­ser­ved for those 11 and un­der,’ reads the no­tice.

“It’s not safe for the big­ger kids to play with lit­tle kids on the same rink for ob­vious rea­sons,” no­ted MacDo­well, who said he felt bad for the teens.

St. La­zare com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Geneviève Ha­mel said ice time was re­ser­ved at the pu­blic park from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Feb. 3 for a team practice.

Ac­cor­ding to Ha­mel, the practice was au­tho­ri­zed by St. La­zare re­crea­tion di­rec­tor Louis Pa­quin.

St. La­zare does not have an of­fi­cial policy or re­so­lu­tion pro­hi­bi­ting or­ga­ni­zed teams from using pu­blic rinks, she ex­plai­ned, ad­ding per­mis­sion may be gran­ted up to five times a year.

“We’ve been doing this for the past th­ree years and no one has com­plai­ned,” said Ha­mel, no­ting the town sim­ply wan­ted to help teams out.

Teams are not char­ged mo­ney to use the pu­blic are­na.

But a se­cond fa­ther, who al­so wit­nes­sed the event, said when he tried to re­serve ice time the next day for his son’s St. La­zare ho­ckey team, he was told no.

“I spoke with (the re­crea­tion de­part­ment)... They don’t ac­cept re­ser­va­tions any­more,” no­ted the fa­ther, who did not want his name used in print.

“I guess Vau­dreuil has prio­ri­ty over HRS (teams) in our own parks,” he conclu­ded.

For its part, Vau­dreuil-Do­rion says none of the town’s eight out­door ho­ckey rinks can be re­ser­ved by teams or used for team prac­tices.

“It’s sup­po­sed to be for the ci­ti­zens to use,” said a Vau­dreuil re­crea­tion of­fi­cial.

Re­gio­nal team

A sti­cking point bet­ween St. La­zare and the dads is the town’s claim the teens were ous­ted for a re­gio­nal team practice.

Ha­mel said they try to ac­com­mo­date HRS teams (Hud­son, Ri­gaud, St. La­zare), as well as double-let­ter teams wi­thin the Trois-Lacs or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Trois-Lacs players may al­so come from St. La­zare.

But both fa­thers and a third man who al­so did not want to be na­med, say the team­was fromVau­dreuil-Do­rion.

“They were wea­ring Vau­dreuil ja­ckets and one of the pa­rents said they were from Vau­dreuil,” said the third man, ad­ding, “This was de­fi­ni­te­ly not a Trois-Lacs team.”

And a Vau­dreuil-Do­rion Mi­nor Ho­ckey As­so­cia­tion web­site seems to confirm the ice time.

The Atom A Vi­kings lis­ted Pa­ti­noire ex­té­rieure Saint-La­zare as the lo­ca­tion for its 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 out­door practice.

For now, Ha­mel says St. La­zare will no lon­ger al­low teams to practice on pu­blic rinks, nor will re­crea­tion of­fi­cials re­serve time for or­ga­ni­zed teams.

“Be­cause you have a few people com­plai­ning you­will have a lot of or­ga­ni­za­tions that suf­fer from­this,” she said.

PHOTO DA­NIEL CUILLERIER

Lo­cal and not so lo­cal ho­ckey teams want to use the out­door ho­ckey rinks at St. La­zare’s Bé­dard Park.

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