Outdoor rinks pop up in response to COVID shutdown

Leader staff

Word on the street is there are a lot more private skating rinks this winter than usual. People want to skate and with hockey and indoor facilities shut down for three weeks, back (and sometimes front) yard rinks are one answer.

According to Dwain Hill of Slave Lake, who tipped us off to the proliferation of rinks, there are 10 that he knows of, and probably more, and that’s just in Slave Lake. All that is in addition to the public skating rinks maintained by S.L.I.P., which are getting plenty of use as well. There’s an outdoor ice surface in Smith, we hear. And people have been spotted skating on various bits of lake or pond in M.D. hamlets. Presumably only in approved family groups…

Joel Blanchette is one of the newbies to building an outdoor rink.
“COVID!” he says, by way of explanation. “My kids are out here all the time.”

Mike Seppola, on 7th St. SW had his kids Taylor and Karter doing stickhandling drills on the new ice rink in the back yard last week. Gives them something to do, he said. He’s thinking of building a bigger outdoor rink at an acreage next winter.

Gregg Whitney put in a rink for his boys at their 10th Ave. SE home for the first time this year. He’s been wanting to for years, says his wife Britney, but this winter, with time off work due to COVID, finally found the time. Their boys Kale and Brody have been spending many hours out there, she says.

Brody and Kale Whitney on the back-yard rink on 10th Ave. SE, with mom Britney watching from above.
Tayla Warman does a bit of stickhandling at the family rink on Barton Drive. Her dad Tyler says the netting is a new addition this year, and has saved their shed from puck damage.
Taylor and Karter on the Seppola family rink.

Home rinks booming

Back and front (even side) yard skating rinks are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm in and around Slave Lake. Why? Something for the kids to do! Pictured are Ethan and Brookelyn Albert at the new family rink on Pioneer Drive SW in Slave Lake. See Page 24 for more.
Max Pothier skates on the back-yard rink made by his dad Kevin, on 4th St. SW.
Joel Blanchette, another outdoor rink first-timer, on 2nd Ave. NW in Slave Lake.
Skyler and Damian Hill on the back-yard rink in the southwest part of Slave Lake.

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