Prior to the start of the Sudbury Wolves versus Erie Otters game at Sudbury Community Arena, a brine system line under the ice which keeps the ice surface cold was leaking. The leak was caused by a drill hitting the line by arena staff at the East end goal crease area.
The damage was done and after a delay of a little more than an hour, the game was cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions as deemed by the on-ice officials. The holes are drilled in order to insert the pegs used for holding nets in place for OHL games.
Smith was not pleased having to make the announcement official to the fans. It is something he already has practice doing from earlier this season when the team’s regular season home opener was cancelled because of thick fog issues.
“There’s lots I want to say about this scenario,” Smith said. “I don’t know how long the league is going to stand for these game cancellations. Our fans and the organization are disappointed over this - a second game cancelled this season. It is not good. There was a leak in the brine system caused by a drill for the goal posts. Technicians were called in to fix it. When they rebuilt the ice over the spot, it didn’t freeze to the satisfaction of the officials. They felt the ice conditions were unsafe for the players and they cancelled the game.”
The cancelled game has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. When the public announcement sounded out the game was cancelled, a loud chorus of boos erupted from the fans.
“Fans can redeem their tickets from this cancelled game for Monday’s game or any other regular season home game based on availability,“ Smith said. “These things happens. It just seems to be one thing after another here. We are starting to get use to it and that is not a good thing. It’s a disappointment to the fans and I apologize.”
The cancelled game hit one player the hardest - Wolves forward Brody Silk. The rugged winger had missed the team’s first 56 games recovering from double shoulder surgery. Silk was set to make his season debut Friday night. It will have to wait until Saturday in Barrie when the Wolves play the Colts.
Silk was positive after the game despite the circumstances.
“I’m definitely a little disappointed, but I’m still smiling,” Silk said.
The 19-year-old doesn’t care where he makes his first regular season as long as it happens.
“I’m excited either way, so it doesn’t matter right now,” Silk said.
Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter has never been part of a team that has had two games cancelled in the same regular season.
“No, I haven’t,” Fixter said. “It is unique. It is out of our control. What are you going to do? Reschedule and play it again. They made the right decision in talking with the officials because the ice is dangerous to the players just like they did with the fog. I feel bad for Brody Silk. He was excited for today.”
The Wolves play in Barrie Saturday and come home for a Sunday afternoon game against Barrie at 2 p.m. before wrapping up their long weekend with the rescheduled Erie game Monday at 7 p.m.