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Holiday Twin Rinks ordered to close by Erie County Health Department

The county says there was a scrimmage held Friday. The owner says it wasn't a scrimmage - he says it was one team practicing game situations with the scoreboard off.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — The Erie County Department of Health says it has ordered Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga to close after a hockey scrimmage was allegedly held.

The department of health said in a statement that a sanitarian inspected the facility Friday night and saw a hockey scrimmage happening. 

Hockey scrimmages are not currently allowed under the NY Forward Sports and Recreation Guidance, the department of health says. The facility was ordered to close. 

However, Mark Grundtisch, the owner of the facility, claims that there was only one team practicing Friday night.

"We know there are plenty of rumors and speculation going around but we want to assure you that it was one single team on the ice," Grundtisch said in a statement. "There were NO outside teams coming in and the scoreboard was NOT on. It was a routine practice - and the team was practicing game situations."

Holiday Twin Rinks, located at 3465 Broadway, will be allowed to reopen once a safety plan is submitted and approved.  

Grundtisch added, "As everyone is aware, including Mr. Poloncarz, Ice Hockey is a fast-paced game of constant movement - there are very few, if any, situations of close contact other than a few seconds. To our knowledge, we have not had A SINGLE case contracted at our facility."

The department of health says that its epidemiology school team has "received multiple, recent results of COVID-19 cases among coaches, parents and youth hockey players, along with accounts of hockey scrimmages being played." The department of health further stated that based on these reports and complaints, public health sanitarians are conducting inspections of sports facilities.

The department of health said they want to remind the community that the NY Forward guidance for sports and recreation is still in effect.

"Teams for high-risk sports are not permitted to participate in competitive team practices, games, meets, matches, scrimmages (e.g. organized leagues, pick-up sports), or competitive tournaments of multiple games, meets, matches, or scrimmages requiring travel," the department of health said in a statement Saturday.

Grundtisch hopes to reopen soon.

"Being a small, privately owned business, this is obviously a very tough situation for us. We will work hard to get our hockey lovers back on the ice," Grundtisch added on behalf of the owners and management of Holiday Twin Rinks.

In addition, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw publicly sent a letter of support to Holiday Twin Rinks following the county's announcement of the closure. 

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