Get ready to trade in your ice skates for wheels — Halifax’s Emera Oval is becoming a roller rink.
The city announced Thursday that due to an unseasonably warm winter, the facility is shutting down its ice skating program for the season.
Looking towards March break, the oval is preparing the space for in-line skating instead.
“We’ve never, ever ended our season this early,” said John Henry, manager of aquatic, active living, leisure and inclusion.
The ice skating season typically lasts three more weeks before in-line skating begins in April.
According to Environment Canada, the average temperature this February was 2.6 C, around eight degrees higher than the same month last year.
Henry says balmy conditions, combined with the rain, made it difficult to maintain ice for the skaters.
“We would have lost it all over again,” Henry said. “It just didn’t make sense.”
More than 120,000 people used the oval this season, the city said in a news release.
Todd Landon, coach of the Atlantic speedskating team at the Canadian Sports Centre, was particularly disappointed by the early transition.
“We have skaters that have been training all year,” he said.
Landon’s team has an ice-skating competition later this month, but given the weather, they will have to make due.
“We’ll probably come in and use wheels to do our training,” he said. “The technique’s a little bit different … It just changes their focus.”
Landon says this season has been a change from last year, when the problem was “too much ice.”
While the weather changes from year to year, passion for the sport endures, Henry says.
“There’s a lot of diehards still like to be here no matter what temperature it is.”