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The Do's and Don'ts of Backyard Rink Building

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 01/10/23, 1:45PM EST


Everything you need to know about getting the best ice

With temperatures finally below zero, players are now able to enjoy their backyard rinks and stay active in hockey from home. While they require a lot of work (and responsibility for older skaters!) backyard rinks are the perfect spot to practice yourskating and skills and have some fun! Backyard rinks come in all shapes and sizes but require the same amount of care.

Thanks to some of our followers, we've compiled some tips and tricks to make sure you get the best ice surface possible.

Creating the Ice Surface

The first rule when creating the ice is to find a flat, level area that is big enough to freeze. Shadier areas will have less sunlight and stay frozen for longer. If your backyard is on a hill or has a lot of slope it can limit your options for building a rink. Once you have identified the area, build the walls of the rink with wooden boards (or keep the snowbanks as walls if you prefer). Frame it into the shape you desire. This process could take a few days (and cross your fingers the weather cooperates).

Use a tarp or similar material to cover the area before filling the space with water. Fill it all up at once so the water can level out - freezing in layers can create an uneven surface. The following floods should be with hot water if available. Once you have two to three inches of ice your rink will be ready!

Managing the Ice

Now that you have the ice surface ready, it will take a lot of maintenance to keep it in good condition after hours of use. Snow can end up adding more work to the process so try to remove snow from your rink after every snowfall. Leaving snow on the rink could have it melt into bumps and create uneven ice.

Like when building the rink, add a layer of hot water (if available) when you're done skating for the day so it can freeze overnight. Finally, make sure you store your hose to avoid freezing.

Add a Personal Touch

Don't be afraid to add a personal touch to the rink; create your own rink boards if you have them or add lights hanging from the fence or trees. Backyard rinks are supposed to be fun! For as much work and maintenance that you put into them you should enjoy them just as much. They often become a passion project every year. You'll learn what works and what doesn't as you go.

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