Effects of Climate Change on Hockey

by Matthill31 on September 12, 2017 - 5:14pm

Matthew Hill

Umrick Singh

Luka Guenette Larocque

The Effects of Climate Change on Hockey

As more years go by, the future of hockey becomes more and more endangered due to global warming and climate change. Any professional hockey player will tell you that playing pond hockey and on outdoor rinks was critical to their achieving success. Climate change is slowly putting an end to outdoor hockey in the winter and some cities have already completely lost their ability to do so because they can't maintain solid ice long enough to be able to skate on it.

We've seen first hand here in Quebec how heavy the impact of it really is. Over the last 50 years, Montreal's total number of days where ice was solid enough to skate on has dropped by 15 days. Montrealers are now restricted to only 50 days per year of outdoor hockey and this number continues to rapidly descend. According to studies performed by Robert McLeman, associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, by 2090, the number of skating days in Montreal and Toronto will experience a sharp 33% decrease as well as Calgary which will fall by 20%. Temperatures in Canada, the highest producer of hockey players worldwide,  have increased by more than 2.5 degrees celcius since 1950. Personally, us three used to play hockey at outdoor rinks when we were younger 8-10 times a year compared to now where we could only go once this past winter because the rinks near our houses were so slushy and not well enough maintained to play hockey on. More and more kids are losing their opportunity to get valuable practice time outside that greatly helps them get better to reach higher levels. This may result in the future of professional hockey being of lower quality than it used to be. The NHL started the "NHL Green" project in 2008 which aims to reduce its 530 000 metric ton carbon footprint as well as to track impacts, reduce energy, waste and water, support environmental programs and achieve environmental progress. It takes more and more water for the NHL to create its ice surfaces. Approximately 12 000 to 15 000 gallons of purified water per NHL sized ice to be exact. This significantly affects the waste of water and the increasing number of regions which have less and less access to clean water when you take into account that every year, 372 000 to 465 000 gallons are used on these ice rinks. Another example of the effect of climate change of hockey took place on January 1st 2017 for the NHL's annual winter classic played between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. The league made it evident that for the first time, it had trouble keeping the ice solid for a full week leading up to the game in Chicago, Illinois even during the coldest time of year.

All in all, we can conclude that over the years, global warming has caused a great decrease of the number of days where we can play hockey on our outdoor rinks and that this has a huge impact on the future of professional hockey. If we can't do anything to stop it, the future of hockey will stricly be indoors because of our inability to maintain solid ice outside.

Sources:

"Just Cool It" by David Suzuki

https://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/skating-on-thin-ice-how-climate-change-could-hurt-hockeys-future

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/05/canada-climate-change-ice-hockey