Being a huge hockey fan as well as player I always loved when the winter came. It meant I was able to skate outside and enjoy the game. Driving to the pond was a hassle sometimes though. My father, brother and I would have to go down and check if it was safe to go on, if it wasn’t we would have to come back and check at a different time. Occasionally, there would be so many people out there that it was hard to get a good game going. One year a friend of mine wanted to build a rink and asked for my help. I was surprised how easy it was to do this. Here are seven tips so you can get your backyard rink up and running.
1. Find a piece of land.
The piece of land that is going to be used should be far enough away from your so that if a puck goes flying it will not break anything. Also, it should be in an area that if the puck leaves the surface you will be able to retrieve the puck.
2. Measure and leave an outline of where the rink is going
Once you have found the land you are going to use, you’re going to want to measure how big you want the rink to be. At the corners, drive a stake into the ground. Next, make some type of outline, you can tie string to the stakes and then attach it to the other stakes. This is going to allow you to see if the stakes are even with each other and give you a guideline to keep it straight.
3. Test if it is flat enough
The stakes should be driven into the ground the same distance. Tie a string to one of the stakes and then attach to the stake diagonal from it at the same place on the stake preferably near the top, do it to the other stakes as well. Now measure how high the string is off the ground. If it is more than four inches off then you can get some fill and put it down so you can get the required evenness.
4. Build the Frame
Take 2×4’s and begin putting them down and nail them together. It must be anchored to the ground so you can hammer the flanks down or at various points put a stake through it.
5 .Lay the tarp
We want to use a tarp that will completely cover and drape over the frame. Once it is over the frame it needs to be anchored down so place some bricks or large rocks on the areas not in the rink. Next walk shoeless over the tarp so it gets pushed down and this will allow you to even it out. You can put the tarp down before the frame but water may sneak out between the cracks.
6. Lay the water
To lay the water down place a hose in the middle of the rink. It needs to be in the middle so the water spreads evenly to the entire rink. Constantly check on it because you do not want the rink to flood. The land might be slightly tilted to one side so that gets more water and you will be able to fix it.
7. Allow the water to freeze
This is usually the most agonizing of the entire process. Once the water has been laid down, we have to wait for two or three days of below freezing temperatures. After those couple of days, check the ice by walking around on it and watching how it reacts to your weight. If nothing happens then you are good to skate on it, but if you notice or hear cracks then you should wait a few more days.
Once you have created this masterpiece there is a great feeling of pride. You built something that other people are going to enjoy. Now you don’t have to deal with the annoyance of going to the pond anymore.
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