Back to Back Issues Page Ezine Issue #15 - Prolong your skate days next season, and more.
May 15, 2012 Issue # 15 - May 2012


There are a number of serious reasons why you'd want to maximize your skate days, and they involve most of the reasons you build your backyard ice rink in the first place.

You get to skate MORE, play MORE hockey or shinny, and practice your stick handling MORE. Plus, you save money, fuel costs and time by not having to travel to and from the big public rink all the time.

In fact, building family relationships, participating in your kids' growth as skaters and hockey players, and having lots more fun together throughout the winter are rewarding benefits of being able to prolong your backyard rink skate days.

In October, as you plan and build your rink, enlist as many ice-saving tricks as you can so your rink can remain frozen and operational for as long as possible.

Where you live, do you have to take any extreme measures to keep your ice rink frozen?

Take our Skate Days Poll

We were curious how long peoples' skating seasons are, on average, and so we created a quick poll.

Simply head over to , find the poll on the bottom (middle) right of our website, select the radio button that most closely describes the number of skate days you got last season, and hit 'vote.'

Fast, easy, and we'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

How to Maximize your Skate Days Next Season

Here are some practical tips for optimizing the ice life in your backyard ice rink. Pay attention to these things, and you might coax another 2 weeks or more out of your backyard ice rink:
  1. Shade.
    Ice stays icy longer in shaded areas. If you can utilize shade that doesn't drop a ton of leaves, all the better.

  2. Remove all the leaves from the ice rink area.
    Dead leaves turn a dark brown, which then soak up the sun rays, softening the ice above them. If they weren't there to start with, the ice would remain harder, longer. Naturally, you'll want to remove any blown leaves from on top of the ice as well.

  3. Don't scrimp on board brackets.
    Make those brackets strong, and install enough of them in order to provide maximum support for the rink boards. This way, if the weather turns unseasonably warm and your rink turns to water temporarily, the weight of that water won't blow out a weak section of your boards. The temporary pond within the boards can then refreeze as soon as the weather returns to normal.

  4. Use a WHITE liner or tarp.
    White is reflective. It remains cooler than a clear tarp which essentially becomes as brown as the dirt or frozen grass underneath it. The ice above a white reflective tarp remains harder, longer.

  5. Rink covers, reflective covers, etc.
    Rink covers serve as removable shade. But additionally, they trap the cold against the ice, and help insulate it from the warmer ambient heat. If that cover is reflective, all the better.

  6. Groom your ice frequently.
    First: Remove fresh snowfall off the ice regularly to maintain your ice rock-solid. Snow insulates. Neglect to remove the snow, and you'll end up with slushy ice, at least on top of your rink. The last thing you need are watery potholes at all the shallow ice areas of your rink.

    Second: Spread a thin coat of water over your ice surface each evening. This can be done with a gentle stream from the hose, but better is to mist the rink, or to use an 'ice rake' or other ice resurfacing tool. The water will fill in any cracks developing in the ice, will melt bits of snow or shaved ice that could insulate the rink, and then freeze, strengthening the ice.

  7. Refrigerated Rink.
    Refrigerated rink chillers literally pull the warmth out of the ice. Sure, they are an expense, but your rink may remain frozen solid even when the ambient temperature nudges its way into the high-50's and 60's. One manufacturer lists 70F as the maximum outdoor temperature in which you can still be skating. Heck, that's halfway to summer, right there.

Our Finish-This-Sentence Contest has a winner!

We wanted to know how you would answer the question: You might be a hockey fan if... If what??

Here is the winning answer by Chris Engle, backyard rink builder since 2009:

"You might be a hockey fan if....
you are the only one in your circle of friends who thinks 
20 degrees & cloudy is a beautiful day!"

Congratulations, Chris Engle!

Chris will receive a 20' wide by 10' high excellent quality, Type NTR 3.500", protective rink hockey netting.

Goodbye to the 2011 - 2012 Backyard Ice Rink Season

It's nearly June. We've seen weather in the 80's (30C) already. Our ice is long gone... Time to stow the boards, brackets, protective netting and lights for the summer. Don't pack it away too tightly - it'll be October before you know it!

Thanks for following along with us as we built our rink, laced up our blades, and skated along with you our friends.

But this isn't a good-bye to you our friends. You'll find this ezine in your emails now and again throughout the spring and summer, keeping you up to date with new developments, hockey news and additional tricks for enhancing your enjoyment and your number of skate days in the next Backyard Ice Rink season!

Only a few days left to Win BIG!... by Donating!

OK, I hope you are sitting down, 'cuz if not, what I am about to say, is gonna knock you off your feet...

The participant who raises the most money will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that is to be included in the Montreal Canadiens' 2012/2013 TEAM PHOTO.

There is no words to describe how sick this is...

All proceeds will be distributed through The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation and the YM-YWHA to fund sport and recreational services and programs for underprivileged youth in the Greater Montreal community.

To make a general donation to STREET HOCKEY DE RUE, click here.

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