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Growing up in the town that I did we had several choices of “where to play hockey today” whether it was the small swamps or the much larger ponds.We spent many a day out on the ice.The only downfall was lugging the equipment back and forth.Even though we had many choices none were very close to our homes and some required lengthy hikes into the woods to get to.This didn’t stop us from playing though.


Now that I am grown and have kids of my own these memories make me wonder “where can my kids skate around here?”The unfortunate truth is not too many places close enough to haul the equipment to without a ride from Mom or Dad.I hadn’t given much thought to a backyard rink until my boss mentioned he put one in his yard and brought in pictures of it.The winter season for that year was winding down and was too late to build one of my own.I filed the thought of a backyard rink in the back of my brain and went about the Spring and Summer.Mid-November my mother suggests getting a rink kit for the kids and suddenly the thought was brought from the back of my brain and I thought this was great.We ordered the kit and the adventure began.It didn’t go smoothly at all, but was still well worth it to see the kids on the ice in their own yard.Season two for the rink saw a bigger rink, a lot more skating time, a winter party with friends and family and further education for the “rink master” on rink building and maintenance.We added a firepit area to the backyard to warm the skaters and non-skaters which gets everyone out of the house and enjoying the season.

What does all this mean to me?It means I have provided a place for my family and friends to skate whenever the weather permits.It means we can have outdoor gatherings in the middle of the winter with plenty of things for friends and family to do.I get the satisfaction of seeing my cousin’s children learning to skate and watching friends learn as well.The hours of building, filling and the time spent maintaining the rink is not looked at in a bad light as the enjoyment that the rink brings far outweighs the work required.The rink provides a place for my family to spend time together, relaxing and just plain having fun with each other.What does it mean to my kids?It means they will have fond memories of their backyard rink.The days skating with family and friends, the hockey games played right into the dark of the night, my daughter learning to figure skate from a friend who takes lessons.

Although some say it is an obsession, and they may be correct, I see the backyard rink as a refuge from the rat race of life.Once it is frozen it is just waiting for you to come out and play.It takes a mere few minutes to go from the house to the rink and once you are there you can leave all the troubles of the day behind you and just enjoy life.For me, the time spent building and maintaining the rink are mere minutes compared to the countless hours of enjoyment.

You could say I am obsessed with my rink and I may very well be.I think I am obsessed with enjoying life and if that means spending a little time keeping the rink up, so be it. I think that at this point the only thing that would cause me to stop building a backyard rink would be if it got absolutely no use.The first season we had 10 whole days of skating and I still look at that season as a success, because without the rink in the yard there would have been 0 days of skating.I guess I’d have to be realistic and say that if I physically couldn’t build or maintain it that would bring an end to it as well, but that is a long way off (I hope), so I will discount that for the time being.

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