PICTOU COUNTY – Over the weekend the staff at Pictou County Wellness Centre were kept busy with the Bantam Memorial Tournament being held there for the first time in the history of the tournament.
This not only was major for the tournament, which had been held in New Glasgow in Trenton in the past, but also for the Wellness Centre with it being the first major tournament held there since opening in November. Operations manager, Jeff DeYoung, said his staff had no issue handling the number of people in the facility or managing the two ice surfaces.
“Everybody was happy with the way the ice was done, both the quality and how efficient we were,” he said. “We had both Zambonis going, which helped us stay on schedule.”
“It was like running the facility for a Crushers game, but steadily throughout the weekend, which showed we could run a ‘marathon’ and not just a ‘sprint’ or one night.”
This was the first time they have had both Zambonis running at the same time. He said during their regular schedule that they rotate between the two, but that they hadn’t run both simultaneously before.
“With the tournament having games going on at the same time on both surfaces we had to run both to stay on schedule,” he said. “Everything worked great with both machines. Since opening they’ve worked great. With them being mechanical gear they will always have ups and downs, but I’ve been pleased with them since we’ve opened. We all look after them well and this weekend we saw how great they work.”
In order to keep up with the increased number of people in the facility DeYoung said they rotated through two cleaning crews throughout the day. He said for ice maintenance they had two operators on at all times throughout the weekend. Although staff worked slightly different schedules than a usual weekend, he said they couldn’t have done what they did, in the time they did it, without tournament volunteers.
“We rotated cleaners in and out throughout the weekend, but the volunteers really helped us keep it clean throughout the day and then our crews did one major cleaning at the end of the day,” he said. “Our staff didn’t have to leave anything to the next group coming in and made sure that at the end of the day that we had everything back in order.”
“I also can’t say enough about the referees also helping us out by moving the nets, because there’s almost an unwritten rule about who moves them and by helping out with that meant that we didn’t need extra staff to move them during floods and between games.”
General manager of the facility, Mike Adam, said his staff performed their duties well over the weekend, communicating well amongst each other and with the tournament organizers and volunteers.
“This was our first large event and a great test for the facility and staff,” said Adam. “We’ve had busy nights, but not to the extent of a large multi-day event. The staff were great, the facility itself performed well and the cooperation and communication between staff and volunteers contributed to an extremely successful tournament in my opinion.”
When asked if he would change much about the way his team worked over the weekend for future tournaments, DeYoung said he would keep things the way they were because they were successful with this first tournament.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris