The Barrie Colts biggest game of the season will have to wait.
The OHL announced the March 7 regular season contest scheduled between the visiting Colts and the North Bay Battalion has been postponed due to an issue with the North Bay Memorial Gardens.
With only six games remaining in the season, Barrie trails North Bay by just three points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Cracks were found inside the arena that could be related to the possible buildup of snow on the roof. Earlier this week in North Bay, it was reported that a large section of the roof of Auntie Jane’s restaurant collapsed from what’s believed to be a heavy buildup of snow from this year’s extreme winter weather.
“The engineer said for public safety we can’t do the game,” said Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk, who didn’t find out the game was cancelled until the team arrived in North Bay. “I guess they had a roof collapse at a restaurant or something. They got a lot of snow on the roof. It’s a flat roof and they found some cracks (on the drywall inside the building), so who knows.
“Once they find out whether it’s a quick fix or a non issue, then they can reschedule there. If it’s an issue, I don’t see that being an easy quick fix. Maybe it goes to our rink, we don’t know yet. The rescheduled game has to be played in an OHL rink.”
According to the Battalion’s website, the arena has been closed to the public while the situation is accessed. While recreational hockey was being played in the afternoon at the North Memorial Gardens, the cracks weren’t discovered until 4:30 p.m.
“Some cracks have developed in the drywall on some non-bearing walls of Memorial Gardens,” North Bay City engineer John Severino said in a press release on the Battalion website. “Until the cause of the cracks can be confirmed it has been decided to close the facility to public use.
“A structural engineering firm has been engaged to evaluate the source of the cracking out of an abundance of caution.”
With a busy weekend schedule for both teams, the game can’t be rescheduled until at least early next week.
“Maybe a Tuesday,” Hawerchuk said. “That could be the only day that could be fit in for both teams. That would be four games in a week, but there may not be any other choice.”
The Colts next contest is scheduled for March 9 when they host the Peterborough Petes at the Barrie Molson Centre.
“We’ll wait and see how they reschedule this,” Hawerchuk said. “Obviously with North Bay in Oshawa we won’t be playing this one tomorrow (March 8), so we better get our focus on Peterborough.”
On the injury front, forward Jacob Tortora (upper body) returned to practice this week. The Colts were hoping to have him back in the lineup this weekend, but the forward’s status remains day-to-day.
“Probably next week,” Hawerchuk said.
Game time March 9 is 7:30 p.m.
photo: The scheduled regular season game between the Barrie Colts and the North Bay Battalion on March 7 was postponed due issues with the North Bay Memorial Gardens. The game will be rescheduled at a date yet to be determined. Terry Wilson/OHL Images