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.