Backyard rinks are a favourite topic of mine. Almost everyone who has ever played hockey or lived in an area where winter produced temperatures cold enough to have outdoor ice will have stories of their own about them. This is my first post on this blog about outdoor rinks but it won’t likely be my last.
The picture below is of the backyard rink we had at our house when I was a kid. This rink was a beauty that my Dad first built when I was probably 12 or 13. I tried to find pictures of the first rink we had at a different house many years before but couldn’t find any. I was a wee lad when we had that rink and it was only a tiny pond compared to this one. Again, it deserves a post of its own so I’ll write that at some point in the future.
On this rink,you’ll notice the net looks a little odd. It’s because it was. Built of 2×4’s and chicken wire, it didn’t even last the winter. But It took a lot of shots before it fell. It seems that chicken wire is pretty inflexible and on a cold day, each shot seemed to bust at least one joint. Add up the shots (and those who’ve seen me shoot know these weren’t even hard shots) and by the end of the winter, it was a net full of holes.
Another wonderful attribute of this rink was that in the far corner (you can see it in the background of this picture), a purple rash would begin to appear in late January and grown into a massive purple blotch by early March as the snow receded. The culprit – a tree with black cherry-like berries that dropped its berries in the winter. As the sun grew warmer, these would melt into the ground on the high bank and drain into the ice. Ice wine anyone?