Love and life are deep, maybe as his skies are wide. — Rush “Tom Sawyer”
There is a tentative plan in place to reopen Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas.
But don’t get too excited Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. hockey player or parent. Tentative is the most important word in that first sentence.
KIHA, a beautiful facility located in the Campbell Industrial Park in Kapolei, has two IceCourt rinks for youth and adult inline hockey and public skating. It opened in 2010, but closed its doors last March due to COVID-19 health concerns and protocol.
Owner Richard Pentecost wants to open KIHA and sister site 808 Futsal across the street as soon as possible. He is losing money rapidly and there is only so long he can go before he can’t take on the losses anymore.
Fortunately for the 500 or so hockey players on the island and the flocks of people who were enjoying the public skating, there is some good news. Pentecost initially set a date of June 2021, as when he would have to close if he was not allowed by county protocol to reopen. But recently, he extended that date until March, 2022.
Everett Arakawa took a shot during an inline hockey game at KIHA a few years ago. (Image credit: Hawaii Hockey Facebook page).
Pentecost is encouraged by the positive implications of the recently released vaccine as well as groups like 808 Safe Sports, which is run by former University of Hawaii football star Chad Owens who is working hard with Honolulu City and County Council member Andria Tupola to safely restart all sports at various levels from youth to adult throughout Hawaii.
“With the hope to reopen, our hockey and futsal directors Jami Yoder and Kawika Del Rosario have been attending (Tupola’s) zoom meetings,” Pentecost told Bedrock Sports Hawaii on Monday. “We presented to (new Mayor Rick Blangiardi) our new waiver form, which includes COVID-19 new guidelines.
“Rick said he would get back to us March 1.”
In addition to the new waiver, Pentecost also put in a proposal to start youth sessions.
“We could call it conditioning, where they skate and do conditioning and don’t bump into each other,” he said. “We could possibly do public skating on a limited basis. And, if we can’t have (adult) open hockey, then we could do drills. There is more and more pressure for allowing facilities like ours to reopen. We want to get to the point where our best customers can come and do something.
“I’m sorry to say that I’m thinking March, 2022, where I would have to close and sell the properties if I can see that it’s (the go-ahead to return to sports) not getting better.”
A youth player moved with the puck and got ready to shoot during a KIHA tournament game a few years ago. (Image credit: Hawaii Hockey Facebook page).
If he gets the green light, Pentecost said the reopening of KIHA for hockey would bring about many changes, especially initially.
“We would limit players allowed in and it would be strictly open hockey at first to test it out,” he said. “Players would change outside in their cars, come in and play for two hours and as soon as they’re done, would leave and change in their cars and go home. In between, we would clean and wipe the benches and other areas for 15 minutes or so, when we welcome the next group in. There would be an online signup for tracing purposes. It’s sad, but it’s the only way.”
Pentecost does not understand why private facilities are having difficulty getting permission to open when, for instance, the UH system is running volleyball and basketball practices and games indoors.
“How come we can’t do that?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s whoever you know or it’s in the name of education. Private schools are also running practices.”
KIHA owner Richard Pentecost with hockey player Lance Hamilton. (Image credit: Hawaii Hockey Facebook page).
In the meantime, KIHA and 808 Futsal are ready to go if the go-ahead comes.
“COVID-19 is very scary and the virus is mutating,” Pentecost said. “That’s really scary. We shall see. I’m still here. We’re getting the facilities cleaned up. It’s beautiful. It’s waiting.”