Residents in the State of Hockey have never shied away from their pride and deep-rooted tradition within the sport. Sharing stories of High School State Hockey Tournaments past, talking Wild and Gopher hockey at the water cooler and showing support for Minnesota’s hockey community are a common occurrence.
It’s that pride that is the foundation for another Minnesota tradition that has led to hours of winter entertainment for adults and kids alike, which comes in the form of building and skating on your own backyard rink.
Anybody with a hose can make a frozen pond in their yard but it takes time, creativity and often times a lot of hot cocoa breaks to create your backyard Xcel Energy Center. With that said, not even MacGyver (who spent time attending St. Cloud State University… Fun fact) could create such a masterpiece without the right tools. In conjunction with the supplies available at The Home Depot, Wild.com will be providing tips and ideas for the creation of your own backyard rink this winter.
With the help of Danny Lutz, the State of Hockey resident who is featured in our backyard rink videos, we’ve created a list of things to think about before heading to The Home Depot to gather your materials.
Things to think about if it’s your first time:Preparation is key. Have a vision of what your end product will look like and the tools you’ll need to achieve it before you get started.
We’re providing a product list at the end of the first video associated with this story. Go through it to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Remember, the ground in your yard is the foundation for this rink so your planning and preparation needs to start before that first magical snowfall.
You’ll want to use the flattest part of your yard to put your rink on. If that’s not possible, you’ll want to flatten it out as much as possible. If you can’t flatten it out and your kid is a goalie, make sure he defends the top of the hill!
Once you’ve picked a nice, flat plot of land you’ll need to mow that part of your lawn as low possible.
Once the weather drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit consistently, it’s time to start creating ice. Keep an eye on the ski hills. Once they start spraying snow, it’s probably a good time for you to be spraying ice.
The first layer of ice is very important. You’ll want to use a hose (preferably a black Goodyear hose that will avoid cracking) to softly and evenly mist the first layer of ice on so it adheres to the ground well. This lays a foundation for the next layer to settle on and even out.
Continue to add layers until you have good, hard ice. Depth of ice is a preference but the more it will be used and the more experienced the skaters are, the deeper it should be.
Assuming this is your first rink, I’ll go ahead and assume that you do not own a Zamboni (maybe not a safe assumption here in Minnesota). Ice scrapers and shovels are the simplest way to keep ice as smooth as possible. You can also use them to push snow to the sides and create a little barrier around the rink.
Spraying before night time is the most effective time to add layers. The weather is more likely to stay cool and you’re kids will be too busy sleeping, you hope, to be skating on it.
Some ideas that can separate your rink from the rest:Lighting! The sun drops quickly in the winter and your kids (or you!) will want to skate right into the nighttime. Danny suggests the easiest being Husky halogen work lights.
Using snow as a barrier is effective and convenient but boards can really give your rink some street cred, while making the neighbor kids jeaous. We have some tips on wood selection in our videos, but ultimately it’s up to you. The Home Depot’s lumber department is large and will carry what you need to build them.
Hockey’s fun no matter what, you know that already. But let’s face it, once the puck drops some friendly competition is sure to follow. A unique scoreboard can instantly change your skating rink into a hockey rink.
Remember, it’s your yard and the backyard rink is yours as well. We’ve seen everything from lawnmower-turned Zamboni’s to rink-side bonfire pits. Let your own taste and creative ideas drive this project. With all the materials you’ll need available at The Home Depot, you’re only limited by your own imagination.
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