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Dad builds Blackhawks rink for young son

by Leah Pascarella / Chicago Blackhawks
Jay Sinden and his son, Max, enjoy their outdoor rink with family and friends. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Peeling, Brant News)

Most kids ask Santa for a new toy, but not 3-year-old Maximus Sinden. It was back in October when Max sat down in his Brantford, Ontario, home to make his list. He wanted one thing: for Santa to build him a hockey rink in his backyard.

Max’s father, Jay, said he remembers talking to Max right away about his Christmas wish.

“I had to say to him, ‘Maximus, Santa Claus isn’t capable of building a hockey rink, but Daddy is.’”

Jay knows how much his son loves hockey and knew this would be the ultimate gift for his son.

Before Jay got to work, he asked Mark Piovesan, who he rents an apartment from, if it was ok to build the rink in their backyard. Mark had no problem turning his backyard into the neighborhood ice rink, but he did have one stipulation.

“I told him if he was going to build the rink, it had to be a Chicago Blackhawks rink with the logo at center ice,” Mark said.

Both Mark and Jay are lifelong Blackhawks fans and agreed that it wouldn’t feel right if the rink didn’t show their love of the Blackhawks.

Jay starting planning right away, reaching out to family members and friends to gather everything he needed. Luckily for Jay, he had watched his own father build a rink in his own backyard when he was young.

While the weather was still cooperating, Jay was able to lay down the framework so he could start flooding the rink as soon as it was cold enough. Max watched from the sidelines and couldn’t wait to lace up his skates.

“The backyard wasn’t quite level, so as I kept flooding, the ice was starting to get flat, and Max was getting more and more excited,” Jay said.

Max puts his favorite jersey on before heading outside to skate. (Photo courtesy of Jay Sinden)

By the first week of January, Max was able to skate on his new Blackhhawks ice rink, and about a week later the Blackhawks logo made the rink complete.

Max loved the rink so much he skated with friends and Piovesan’s grandson about 40-50 times this year. Most children skating at the rink wore their Blackhawks jerseys, but Piovesan said every now and then a Maple Leafs jersey snuck in.

The rink was such a success that Jay said he plans on making the rink even better next year.

“Being a single dad, I always want to make my son as happy as possible,” he said. “With him loving hockey so much, this is something I knew I wanted to do for him, and spending time with my son and watching his hockey skills develop was something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

The outdoor hockey season may be over until next year, but little Max still hums "Chelsea Dagger" at the dinner table and watches as many Blackhawks games as possible.

He has some time before he creates his next Christmas list, but Max will celebrate his fourth birthday in July, and he has a new request.

“I am having a Chicago Blackhawks birthday party and I want to invite Patrick Kane,” Max said.

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