Moose hockey vs. Bozeman Stingers (copy)

Jackson forward Kyle Krauss skates towards Bozeman’s offense during the 2020-21 season-opening game at the Snow King Sports and Events Center.

The rink at Snow King Sports and Events Center has closed for the time being.

Jackson Youth Hockey announced the decision in a press release last Thursday, citing the increase in COVID-19 cases across Teton County, “the multiple positive cases across JYH teams, and an effort to keep all community members safe and healthy.”

Howie “Bob” Carruth, general manager of the Jackson Hole Moose, said several groups of rink users have had someone test positive for COVID-19, causing the shutdown. That includes figure skating, youth hockey, the senior Moose hockey team and adult rec hockey.

There is no clear timetable for a return to activities at the Snow King rink, Carruth said. The senior Moose’s Nov. 20-21 series against the Park City (Utah) Pioneers was postponed after players from both sides tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’ll see how the community does with the spread, but we hope to be open for youth hockey shortly,” Carruth said. “There’s no date in mind right now. We’ve got to get some things under control here.”

The facility closed Thursday, the release said, and all youth hockey practices have been canceled. Youth hockey teams will not have any practices or games in the Wyoming Amateur Hockey League or any outside tournaments.

“We understand this is heartbreaking for our players, coaches and families,” the organization’s release reads, “however, it is in the best interest of our players’ health, our visiting teams’ health, our community as a whole and the continuation of hockey into March.”

Drew Akins, a star forward with the senior Moose and coach of the club’s Bantam-A team, said the priority across the board is finding a way to safely get the youth teams back on the ice.

“I think it’s crucial that we get back as soon as possible,” he said. “No matter how strict the protocols have to be, and no matter any changes that need to be made as far as what it takes to get back on the ice, I think a lot of these families are more than willing to do whatever it takes. I think they know how important it is for these kids to stay active and have some sort of normal life right now.”

Contact Chance Q. Cook via sports@jhnewsandguide.com.

Sports Editor Chance Cook has lived in rural Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Butte, Montana. He is no stranger to spending time in the woods chasing animals. If you see him out, challenge him to a game of pool. Send tips and questions.

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