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Backyard rink ready to use


Public rinks have been closed to the public for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t stop those who can’t help but scratch the itch for ice skating and hockey. When there is a problem, solutions are found.
The solution for some people in the Town of Swan River has been to build homemade rinks in their backyard.
Trevor and Cherisse Warburton and their two sons, Tripp and Trey, are one such family that have a DIY skating surface behind their house in Swan River. “We’ve had our backyard rink for a few years now,” said Trevor Warburton.
“When we first moved to town, we used to clear an area on the river for the children to skate on for a couple of years. But, as they got a little older, we wanted a little more consistency in the ice and  something a little closer to the house, so they could be on it whenever they wanted and we could keep an eye on them from the window if we weren’t able to be outside. “There’s not much to it really (to build one).
You need to find a relatively flat piece of ground, visualize where you think the rink would go, measure it out and decide how detailed you want it to be.” The first year of having a backyard rink is always the most time consuming, due to planning and construction of the pieces involved. “There are lots of ideas on the internet, some more complex than others,” said Warburton.
“We are limited in space with the way our lot is, so the biggest we could build ours was 32 feet by 40 feet, going with two foot high boards.” Warburton’s rink consists of OSB for the sides, braced by 2x4
boards. The bracing is important as the weight of the water is a lot for the boards to take. The braces are then pounded into the ground with rebar. The ground and the boards are then lined with rink liner, enough so that the water doesn’t leak out. “We find the easiest way to make ice is to get the liner in and call a water supplier to haul water and unload it,” said Warburton. “Our rink requires a little more than 7,000 gallons to fill, so we had Valley Water bring a couple of truck loads to fill it. “Some people may
flood in layers with a garden hose, which also works fine as well, but takes a little longer to complete the process.”
Their rink also has some extra features like flood lights illuminating the space from every corner.
“As it gets dark pretty early in the evening and the boys like to be out there after supper, having lights was a must in our opinion,” said Warburton.
The entire family get a lot of use and enjoyment out of the rink, creating a perfect activity for the hockey-loving family. “We spend many hours on evenings and weekends skating and playing hockey,” said
Warburton. “(The boys) seem to race home after school to get their skates on and get out on the ice, 
as well as wake up early on the weekend to get out there and play. “This year, it is a little different with the restrictions in place, but generally speaking, it’s also a great opportunity for them to have friends
over, get some exercise and fresh air and just enjoy the game. We often find ourselves having a fire and watching them play.”
Warburton is not surprised that he is seeing more families building backyard rinks for their children, with the limits that have been placed on socializing in public places this year. “There are a lot of young families in the community that have a real love for the game, parents and children included,” he said. “Minor
hockey have been put on hold, figure skating has been put on hold and all the other activities that
take place at the rink throughout the winter are currently on hold and everyone needs something to do to stay active. This is an easy way to do that and have an opportunity to play the same game we’re all
missing, even though it’s on a smaller scale.” He noted that the cost can vary widely depending on how far someone wants to go with it. It can have lighting, it can have four-foot realistic puck boards, or it can be some simple lumber, liner and ice, or even a cleared out space on a frozen river if someone has nearby access.
“There are many different options out there and lots of neat things one can do if they use their imagination,” Warburton concluded.