The rink eased back into daily activities in the few weeks of reopening. Figure skating was allowed and drop-in for adult hockey players, as well as stick and puck for the younger ages filled the rink’s calendar. It was primary activities where everyone could practice social distancing.
“We started with a bang,” said Lewis, who has been a USA Hockey volunteer for 18 years. “Putting out stick and puck and drop-ins with limited numbers, we filled up right away. Then we would add another stick and puck or drop, then another. Every week we’d either add more players.”
When Texas allowed skating rinks to reopen, access to locker rooms was still barred. So, adult and youth players were asked to come to the rink fully dressed and ready to jump on the ice. Locker rooms are now back open.
Governor Abbott allowed adult hockey practices to get underway June 1, with games to commence two weeks later. But Aerodrome decided to wait until June 6 for its first practice.
What makes it a bit more complicating is trying to social distance while players are on the ice. Lewis and his staff continue to evaluate their programming to follow local health guides.
“How can you social distance and play games? So, we decided not to start them until July,” Lewis said.
During practices, adult players who are on the bench are sitting about stick length away from the nearest player.
“We try to limit the total number of players,” Lewis said. “The best-case scenario for us is roughly teams of say 10, 11, 12 tops, people. Five on the ice, five or six on the bench and we can mark off and social distance pretty well.