Lights out — the NHL is changing the rules for giving skating a shot

The whole area of Toronto has been cloaked in neon glow since late last month. Hundreds of Christmas lights greet drivers pulling into and out of the subway. Tiny reindeer and giant inflatable snowmen dot lawns and family gatherings.

Throughout early November, those artists have been decorating sidewalks and parks with more than two million square feet of LED lights. (In one city park alone, those lights and decorations attracted 15,000 people last weekend.)

But they’re not quite done yet. And by Tuesday morning, the city of Toronto announced that they’d made changes to winter skating rules, which had previously prohibited “any activity or activity environment” on the outdoor ice surface inside CN Tower, TD Garden, Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre.

Now, skating on any surface inside a hockey venue, sports arena or NFL or NBA stadium will be legal. This includes renting out the ice for children’s parties and bridal showers (and allowing for charge and coin, no bigger than $10, but no less than $30). (An Edmonton couple’s last minute $4 ice rink tickets at TD Garden prompted the relief policy change.)

The hockey facilities are also encouraged to waive the fee for renting out the ice.

That means you won’t have to worry about a parking spot or paying to park inside a hockey venue’s parking lot.

Finally, hockey events and other games – such as those organized by the NHL or NBA – will now allow skaters to watch the games or participate in other activities, such as watching a hockey game while they wait for their turns on the ice, without spending money on tickets. (Hockey leagues can still set up their own ticket rates.)

The NHL has been reminding fans since mid-November to dress warmly when watching a hockey game at any venue. So don’t hesitate to purchase tickets to get the best seat in the house. There are still some empty seats at NFL games in Detroit and elsewhere.

For those still considering getting back on the ice outside, the rule changes don’t apply to indoor locations, such as the YMCA’s outdoor ice rink that will be lit until the end of March.

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