PLANS to build on British success at Olympics staged in Russia have had to be put on hold.
Interest in winter sports reached fever pitch when both the men’s and women’s Great Britain curling teams picked up medals at the Olympics in Sochi earlier this year.
But the closure of Deeside Ice Rink following “unforseen technical problems” has resulted in the Deeside-based Welsh Curling Association having to postpone the start of its 28-team summer season.
And people looking forward to skating on the rink over Easter also saw their hopes scuppered, with the facility set to remain closed until April 29 at the earliest.
Huw Meakin of the Welsh Curling Association said: “We had a great response after the Winter Olympics and we have 28 teams of five all ready to start a summer league – but we have been unable to begin.
“It’s very frustrating. We wanted to set up something to maintain the interest so we can build on it but unfortunately this has held everything up.”
Deeside Leisure Centre is the National Centre for Ice Sports in Wales, boasting an Olympic-size ice pad and catering for a variety of ice sports and activities including ice hockey, curling and disco nights.
Mr Meakin now hopes the association will be able to use the ice rink next Monday after being notified a brine pump malfunction caused the initial closure of the facility.
The pump is used to cool and circulate sea water underneath the ice to keep it cold.
But difficulties in removing air from the masses of pipes running below the rink have taken longer than expected.
Mike Welch, Flintshire Council principal leisure services officer, said: “Deeside Ice Rink has been closed since April 13 due to a leak in the secondary cooling system.
“The leak was from the main circulation pump commonly known as the ‘brine pump’ and was quickly repaired.
“However, removing the air from the 18km of pipes which run below the ice pad and returning the ice rink plant to normal operating conditions has proven difficult.
“The ice rink is now unlikely to reopen until next week.”
Deeside Ice Skating Club was forced to cancel its April 13 ‘mini annuals’ competition on account of melting ice at the facility and has been unable to hold any of its regular sessions since.