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Hester

BACK YARD HOCKEY RINK

8 posts in this topic

Just wondering what is the best way to make an outdoor rink in my back yard. I'm not planning on putting anything down to help the water freeze better. just planning on putting out the garden hose or spinkler untill enuf ice builds up and my kids can skate on it.

Any tips would be appreciated.

I tried it last year but it was to warm up through early January, I was never able to make good ice.

Thanks Hester

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I tried making a skating area on a lake one year. It was harder than I thought it would be. We had a hard time trying to make it smooth. We found that it helped to remove all snow before flooding it. This included snowblowing (if required), then shoveling, then sweeping off the rink. We only had a 12 volt pump to flood it, so maybe more water pressure would have made a difference. Good Luck.

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Putting plastic down helps alot. You need a very level area to reduce the amount of water it takes. If you do a search there's some great webpages out there on backyard rinks, mostly from out of Canada. Most recommend some kind of Boards along the sides that are staked in before ground freeze with plastic inside the area.

It is not easy to make your own ice sheet. I've tried a couple of different times and last year was very disappointing because of the difficulty in finding a spot in the yard that is suitable and level. Plus your battling the elements the entire time garden hoses and freezing temps don't mix very well.

Then on top of that once you have it made it disappears every time it snows and turns into more work.

It can be done though.

Also there's lot's of do it yourself rinks available out there to purchase that are like a huge sandwich bag you fill and then unzip the top.

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growing up we always had a rink in the backyard. my dad put metal stakes in the ground just before freezing and had plywood attached to the stakes to make boards. got it as level with the ground as possible. flooded when temps were below freezing to get the ice going. once it snows it helps a lot because you can pack it in the spots that aren't perfectly level. you get ice pretty quick. we always seemed to have pretty good ice, some spots were better than others, but it worked great for a bunch of kids in the backyard.

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Thanks for the tips guys, thats some good info.

I too had a rink as a kid every year, I just remember my dad staning in the back yard with a beer and garden hose.

Last year I came to find out its not that easy at all. You need cold winters like we used to get. Where it did not get above freezing for more than an hour or two for abaout 2 1/2 months.

I always remembered the ice being nice all the way across. But then again, as a kid, it could of seemed good cause I probly didnt care. I just wanted to be out there with my friends.

Then you had spring time when the top layer was still ice, but under it was water and you would walk across to see if you could make it without falling in and getting your shoes wet.

Hester

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My .02. I've done it a few times.

If your laying down plastic, make sure it is clear in color. Gray or black plastic will "heat" and without doubt melt the ice. Check with momma ahead of time too - with plastic down - your grass will take a beating. Be preared to have dead/dying grass come spring.

Use of a garden hose is good - IF you tie in to the inside faucet. Warmer water brings/cures better ice. Cold water freezes too fast and then you have the leveling game going on. So, make sure you have enough hose to come off the laundry tub or kitchen sink - out the window- and to the rink. Again, just as with dead grass, check with Momma on the hose idea. Your floor will have a heap of hose on it all winter long. An open window in January might make the queen wonder...

When it comes to leveling, throw some snow in and soak it. It;ll slush out and eventually freeze. A quick and easy fix to unlevel ice.

Distance from house - simplicity. The longer the distance the less it gets used. Build it as close to your front door as possible. Go to fleet farm or the like and get bailer belting and use it as a mat to have the kids get to the rink. Yep, right out your front door down the mat to the rink. Your other option is to tie the skates out side in the cold!

Rink size - smaller the better. I trust the intentions here in building the rink is to provide entertainment for the kids. You are, however, trying to solidy the D1 scholarship at age 8 as well! Force the "East/West" skating which will build ankle strength. The cross over skills will perfect here long before at any team practice forum. "North / South" rinks will only produce a weak ankled fast skater.

We live on a lake. I tried the rink thing there. Ice auger a hole, run the extension cord, drop the sump pump. Throw 1000's of gallons on it. Water freezes too fast. Its nothing more than a ice mound. Too far from the house. The kids are cold. Calling you on the walkie talkies 5 minutes after you got back up to the house cuz they are cold. Back down to the lake you go - untie the skates. Wind drifting the snow - shoveling/plowing constantly... Blah blah blah.

Good luck!

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Good stuff DTL

thanks

Hester

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I had a friend that had a tennis court in the back yard. In the winter his dad would flood it for a perfect ice rink. It was great because it had the chain-link on each end to keep the balls/pucks from going too far. We would play on that rink for hours. One of the kids that played with us all the time on that rink ended up playing for the Gophers and then in the NHL for years! I think that rink had a lot to do with his success!!!

Playing on a small rink like that with a tennis ball will really teach a kid how to stick handle. It develops quick hands and lateral movement. It also teaches you how to pass. On a surface that small you can’t be a “puck hog” or your toast. I would say over half the time we just played boot hockey. Full contact, frozen tennis ball, Head-high slap shots, kill your neighbor boot hockey!! God I miss those days.

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