The Red Deer Rebels are taking living at the rink to the next level. The literal level.
Adjusting to life and hockey in the COVID-19 era, the Rebels players will live at their home arena, the Westerner Park Centrium, as a means to safely participate in the Western Hockey League’s 24-game, inter-provincial Alberta schedule beginning Feb. 26.
Living in suites inside the arena will eliminate the use of billet families and other unsecured methods to lodge a collection of players from different areas across the region.
“The kids are very excited about being here, they all showed up and are all settled into their own suites. The billets brought beds over and we borrowed some beds from other people. It’s actually really awesome,” head coach and general manager Brett Sutter told the Red Deer Advocate.
“It was a lot of work but the kids are really excited and excited about getting back to playing some hockey and getting going here.”
Players belonging to the five competing rosters on Alberta-based teams arrived in their respective cities on Feb. 6 to begin preparations for a safe return to training and competition. The Rebels checked into hotels upon arriving in Red Deer to complete the testing process before settling into new digs around the upper bowl of the team’s home arena.
No fans will be allowed in the seats at the Westerner Park Centrium through the balance of the season, a means to keep the space secure as part of the clearance agreement from the Alberta government.
The Rebels have set up activity areas, which includes television set-ups, card tables, basketball nets, and ping pong tables, in addition to designated areas to complete school work for players still in high school.
Rebels staff members will continue living in their homes under strict guidelines.
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