CONCORD, NH (CBS) – Seven-year-old hockey player Mason Page can only stare through the window of the Everett arena in Concord, New Hampshire. It’s now closed per order of Governor Sununu. “It’s our one stretch of normal,” said his mother Emily. “It’s one thing to do and all of a sudden it’s taken away.”
In fact, 120 kids were supposed to come to the arena for practice on Thursday and got an hour’s notice that a spike in coronavirus cases had shut down 26 New Hampshire hockey leagues and other ice activities for two weeks.
“They claim it will open October 30 but that’s not in writing and not what we’ve seen,” said Wes Riley, the director of the Concord, NH youth hockey program.
More than 150 cases have now been linked to hockey in several outbreaks that state officials say have spread into communities.
For LJ Newell the timing couldn’t be worse. “It’s make or break time for me,” said Newell. The Colorado native is now living with a host family in New Hampshire playing goalie for the New England Wolves.
He’s hoping college coaches will see him for recruiting and that’s been upended. “We understand the severity of what’s going on and want to respect that. At the same time it’s frustrating because we do want to play and that’s why we’re here,” said Newell. Several players on his team have tested positive and he’s already been in quarantine for two weeks. He’ll now miss games for the entire month of October.
It’s unclear why the sudden spike in cases, but some are questioning if it’s out of state travel by some teams to tournaments and bringing the virus back. “We’re going through all the extra measures and now this,” said Wes Riley.
Emily Page said it’s difficult to explain what’s happening to her son, but she’s cautiously optimistic the season can resume. There are no reported cases in the Concord league, but they have to deal with the pause button while the state makes sure hockey is played safely by everyone.