The fight over prime time ice in the HRM is about to get interesting.

Men’s hockey — both boys and men’s — get most of the best practice hours because it has the lion’s share of players. But Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey League teams don’t get a single hour of prime time ice in Halifax or Dartmouth.

Tonight, Halifax regional council will look at new rules for ice allocation for the four-pad area which will open in Bedford this fall. If accepted, these rules would be phased in at the HRM’s 16 other arenas.

“Hockey in Halifax has far outgrown the facilities. Now with the new facility, it shakes things up a bit,” said Christina Lamey, president of the Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey League.

“We’re living proof that the status quo hasn’t worked. We’re very eager to see some fairness and equity across the board.”

The competitive ringette program is piecemeal because of a lack ice time, said Lindsay Bennett with Ringette Nova Scotia.

“Our program has definitely been hurting,” she said.

Ice time is currently grandfathered in, meaning teams entrenched in the community and youth teams are given preference.

Nustadia Recreation Inc. is running the new four-pad arena and has come up with a set of rules for equitable ice time. The first two years at the four-pad arena will be a catch-up for underserviced groups such as sledge hockey, ringette, figure skating, and other hockey teams.

After the second year, they will take into consideration the number of players on a team and the amount of ice time recommended for each level.

Bedford Coun. Tim Outhit said the $39-million facility will have a domino effect, opening up ice time in other facilities.

“Though I’m thrilled this facility is being built in Bedford, and it’s 20 years overdue, it is a regional facility and I’m 100 per cent in support of giving female hockey and ringette players and the figure skaters some first dibs on this,” he said.

Expensive ice

Even if they manage to get ice time at the new four-pad arena in Bedford, Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey League president Christina Lamey said it will be expensive.

“The ice time cost is much higher than everywhere else. It’s about $265/hour where even the (Halifax) Metro Centre is only $220/hour,” she said.

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