Sven Walker always enjoyed skating and playing shinny on the Kingston backyard rink his dad faithfully maintained. He wanted to provide the same opportunity for his family and him in their backyard in North Leaside.
The last few years with inconsistent winter temperatures made a natural outdoor rink a lot of work, and not a lot of satisfaction either. When Sven got the opportunity to buy a used glycol system, he leapt at it, even though the equipment didn’t come with an instruction manual. Luckily, he was successful at figuring out how to set it up, and now maintain it. Since the system can function with outdoor temperatures up to +10 degrees, he figures the season is sufficiently long to make the effort worthwhile.
Regular upkeep is quite simple. With a rink rake hooked up to a hot water source, and with a towel attached, he can resurface his rink in about 10 minutes. The first half is hard and dry before he has finished the second half. If it snows, of course, he does need to shovel.
Since the rink is backyard size, not arena size, the corners are tighter, but still fun for real amateurs and more talented skaters to enjoy.
Three of his kids skate, and the fourth, too young yet for skates, enjoys walking on the ice in his boots.
The winter months are long, and he wants to encourage his kids to be physically active and counteract indoor screen time, at least a little.
He’s pleased the word is getting out. As he says, “I wanted to engage the community, and have fun. There is a consistent base of repeat participants.”
Through a Facebook posting, he has organized the Leaside Shinny Hockey League for adults – which plays during the week after 8 p.m. The exact days depend on the weather. On weekends, parents and kids enjoy being on the ice together. Interested in getting on his list? Call Sven at 647-204-3147.