CALGARY -- The Calgary Hitmen have partnered with Siksika Health Services to present the outdoor skating rink at Zoolights.

The skating rink is located on the west lawn and sits under a raised canopy of coloured lights. Access to the rink is free to anyone with a Zoolights ticket.

The rink is an homage to the Every Child Matters game, the inaugural event held last season during a Hitmen game at Scotiabank Saddledome. That was dedicated to Indigenous youth empowerment through sport while celebrating the Blackfoot culture.  

Banners at the Zoolights skating rink will celebrate the partnership, including Blackfoot messaging.

“This is just another example of the partnership that the Calgary Hitmen and Siksika Health Services share, in this case to provide a safe, outdoor venue for families during these challenging times,” said Hitmen spokesperson Rob Kerr in a press release.  “A trip to Zoolights is a tradition for many during the holidays and a wonderful opportunity to spend with family and friends.”

Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot said the partnership provides the opportunity to reminisce on the message of the Every Child Matters Game, “As well as provide a space for our Blackfoot language to be displayed for all of Mohkinstsis.”

“We are honoured to partner with our friends, the Calgary Hitmen, on the Zoolights skating rink," Crowfoot added.

Steven Ross, Chief Development Officer at the Zoo said, “We are very proud of this partnership, and to showcase the Calgary Hitmen’s community commitment at the ice rink - a favourite attraction amongst our guests. This year will see the rink open to the public under COVID-19 safety protocols that will ensure a safe experience for all guests. We look forward to welcoming all skaters to Zoolights again this year”.

What's different this year is that there are COVID-19 safety measures implemented for all skaters, including mandatory masks, one way counter-clockdwise skating, distanced skating, and boards that are sanitized frequently.

Timed tickets must be purchased in advance as entries are staggered in 30 minute intervals to ensure safe physical distancing throughout the experience.  Tickets will not be available for purchase onsite.

Zoolights begins Friday November 20th and will be glowing for six consecutive weeks with the exception of Christmas Day until January 3, 2021.