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Backyard Hockey

Ask your backyard rink questions here!

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Hi gang,

Love this site, and spend lots of time lurking...but I'm nowhere near as well-versed in hockey gear as you guys are, despite playing competitively from age 4 through college. It's been men's leagues and pond hockey tourneys since. About six years ago I built my first backyard rink, and my blog is now an authority source on the subject. Two years ago I also opened a side business building rinks in the NH area, as well as selling backyard rink parts worldwide. We built 8 rinks our first year, 18 this past year, and have 15 more on a waiting list for 2013-2014.

(Not sure if it's kosher if I post the links or names of the blog or business, so I won't...mods, please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong here).

Anyways, since I get so much value from this site and can rarely give back, I thought I'd start this thread to give you all a resource should you decide to build your own rink. So ask away!

Joe

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Joe,

As I've gotten to know the manager at my bank, I've learned he lives around the corner from me and he's shown me pictures of an impressive rink he's built for his son and himself. We live in the foothills outside of Denver, where the sun can be quite strong, so he told me that he was planning to add a roof to protect against the melting, as well as to add lights. I'll email him a link to this thread for him to ask questions if any arise.

Jason

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Whoa...that's big-time! I've had folks rig up shades to keep the sun away, but a roof is another level entirely. That said, shade is a HUGE component of a successful rink. In January, when it tends to be bitterly cold, it doesn't matter much. But when we get those inevitable mid-season thaws, or in late February when the sun gets warmer, you can easily get another couple weeks to your season if the sun doesn't directly hit your rink for any length of time during the day. And you can't even quantify the help a roof will provide when it snows. I'd love to see pics of this (and also inquire about being adopted, haha).

Joe

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Hi gang,

Love this site, and spend lots of time lurking...but I'm nowhere near as well-versed in hockey gear as you guys are, despite playing competitively from age 4 through college. It's been men's leagues and pond hockey tourneys since. About six years ago I built my first backyard rink, and my blog is now an authority source on the subject. Two years ago I also opened a side business building rinks in the NH area, as well as selling backyard rink parts worldwide. We built 8 rinks our first year, 18 this past year, and have 15 more on a waiting list for 2013-2014.

(Not sure if it's kosher if I post the links or names of the blog or business, so I won't...mods, please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong here).

Anyways, since I get so much value from this site and can rarely give back, I thought I'd start this thread to give you all a resource should you decide to build your own rink. So ask away!

Joe

Nice.... where were you two months ago?..... Coulda saved me a lot of heart ache. Seriously, it's nice to have a resource like this for next year. That is if I don't decide to go synthetic by then.

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Nice.... where were you two months ago?..... Coulda saved me a lot of heart ache. Seriously, it's nice to have a resource like this for next year. That is if I don't decide to go synthetic by then.

Ah, sorry! What happened? Even as a veteran rinkbuilder, I still learn new things each year. That said, there are probably 3 or 4 items on the "you must do this or else" list, and almost all of us have screwed up a couple of those in our first years.

Synthetic is nice for sure, and I'd love to start selling it up here in the Northeast. Only problem is many companies have their own reps and don't have much of a foothold up here. Still trying to break into that industry to expand what I can offer through my rinkbuilding company.

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I am pretty sure I have been to your blog and spent a lot of time there day dreaming ha-ha. One of these days when I live somewhere that gets cold enough again I will build one.

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I am pretty sure I have been to your blog and spent a lot of time there day dreaming ha-ha. One of these days when I live somewhere that gets cold enough again I will build one.

Sweet! I maintain the blog to educate, instruct, and also to inspire! Nothing better than having your own backyard sheet. Hopefully you'll join the ranks of rinkbuilder soon enough! Or, like someone above said, go synthetic! (Hope your checkbook likes commas).

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Sweet! I maintain the blog to educate, instruct, and also to inspire! Nothing better than having your own backyard sheet. Hopefully you'll join the ranks of rinkbuilder soon enough! Or, like someone above said, go synthetic! (Hope your checkbook likes commas).

Yeah I am originally from New Hampshire so I have done the backyard skating thing before and it is awesome. My Fiance is from Los Angeles and plays hockey at the Naval Academy here in MD but wants to settle out there when she finishes with the military (however long that will be). I need to convince her to move north haha or as you said I need to make more money and go synthetic.

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That would be awesome, even better would be to win the lottery and build a legit enclosed rink haha. Thanks for good luck I am confident it will happen eventually.

Edited by MC6694

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BTW, here's picture of my rink this year. I'd say on a scale of one to ten, this year was about a 6. Lots of bitter cold in January, book-ended by some crappy weather in December and a downright horrid February (it's either snowed or been warm, it seems).

19410_534683896551196_201532348_n.jpg



That would be awesome, even better would be to win the lottery and build a legit enclosed rink haha. Thanks for good luck I am confident it will happen eventually.

And don't forget, there's always "get a new fiancee", haha. JK...if she plays hockey at the college level, hold on to that one.

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BTW, here's picture of my rink this year. I'd say on a scale of one to ten, this year was about a 6. Lots of bitter cold in January, book-ended by some crappy weather in December and a downright horrid February (it's either snowed or been warm, it seems).

And don't forget, there's always "get a new fiancee", haha. JK...if she plays hockey at the college level, hold on to that one.

I think the rink looks pretty good considering the crappy winter. I am not gonna lie the Naval Academy Women's team is not Varsity or even club (although they are trying to gain that status) and a lot of the girls haven't played before because they take whoever they can get to fill the roster. They also have girls that are very good (one from main one from Minnesota one from Mass and a few others) and they play some pretty good teams. She has played for 4 years now and isn't bad for someone who never played before. I am just glad she loves the game!

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Ah, sorry! What happened? Even as a veteran rinkbuilder, I still learn new things each year. That said, there are probably 3 or 4 items on the "you must do this or else" list, and almost all of us have screwed up a couple of those in our first years.

Synthetic is nice for sure, and I'd love to start selling it up here in the Northeast. Only problem is many companies have their own reps and don't have much of a foothold up here. Still trying to break into that industry to expand what I can offer through my rinkbuilding company.

Too many issues to list, but they all essentially stemmed from the main one,... too much slope. I thought I was good, but it was more than I thought. That cascaded to other issues that were exacerbated by the freeze thaw.

I am considering refrigeration. I think I can do it a lot cheaper than what is commercially available. But still, synthetic may be a better option for my personal circumstances.

Good to have you here as a resource though going forward. I've benefited greatly from the other gurus on here in several areas.

Thanks

Steve

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Joe

Massachusetts guy here and have been to your blog a few times. Absolutely loved "In the cards all along" post.....Great stuff!

Welcome aboard!

Z45

Chris

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Too many issues to list, but they all essentially stemmed from the main one,... too much slope. I thought I was good, but it was more than I thought. That cascaded to other issues that were exacerbated by the freeze thaw.

I am considering refrigeration. I think I can do it a lot cheaper than what is commercially available. But still, synthetic may be a better option for my personal circumstances.

Good to have you here as a resource though going forward. I've benefited greatly from the other gurus on here in several areas.

Thanks

Steve

Yup, you are not alone. So many yards looked flat until the water truck comes, my first rink included (I got lucky that the water stopped at the top of my 1' boards). It's probably the most common rink mistake, and one you only make once. If you're down to try again, I do have a article on how to measure slope using cheap tools if you look at the URL in my profile (still not sure if it's ok to post my URLs here). Don't give up! That said, if you have the coin for either refrigeration or synthetic, let me know how it goes. Been wanting to get into both of those setups to expand my horizons a bit.

Joe

Massachusetts guy here and have been to your blog a few times. Absolutely loved "In the cards all along" post.....Great stuff!

Welcome aboard!

Z45

Chris

Thanks! I'm such a sap for the generational hockey stuff. In exactly one week, my oldest hits the ice for his first-ever travel hockey tryouts, at the same rink and for the same organization I played for my whole life. I'm going to be one beaming dad next Monday. I love that hockey can do that to us.

Are you related to the family that owned Proulx Oil in Exeter?

Nope. Wish I was. It would save me money on my oil bill.

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Joe...I am the same way. Hoping I can share the love of hockey with my kids like my dad did with me.

My oldest daughter just got the skating bug this winter. She is surprisingly decent considering she just started. Gonna get her in a learn to skate/play program before the end of the winter. She just turned 7 so there may still be hope she decides to play hockey.

my son is 3 and a half. Pretty much every day we are in the driveway at his request to shoot balls into the net. He is very good on land for his age but the first time he went skating he spent the whole time rolling around on the ice.

But, while reading through your blog again:

I saw the skate aid you built. Thing looks awesome. Going to (try) build one this weekend....will be perfect for him.

Thanks for that!

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Joe...I am the same way. Hoping I can share the love of hockey with my kids like my dad did with me.

My oldest daughter just got the skating bug this winter. She is surprisingly decent considering she just started. Gonna get her in a learn to skate/play program before the end of the winter. She just turned 7 so there may still be hope she decides to play hockey.

my son is 3 and a half. Pretty much every day we are in the driveway at his request to shoot balls into the net. He is very good on land for his age but the first time he went skating he spent the whole time rolling around on the ice.

But, while reading through your blog again:

I saw the skate aid you built. Thing looks awesome. Going to (try) build one this weekend....will be perfect for him.

Thanks for that!

Awesome, glad you liked the skate aid. I try to make things on my site both simple and cheap, adjectives not often used to describe the game of hockey. My hope is that it makes the game (or at least the backyard rink segment) more attainable for folks who didn't grow up with it like we did.

I got my boy (now 6) on skates when he was 18mos...he loved it, but he honestly didn't stand on his own until he was over 3. My back hurt a lot those first couple years. But the best thing we ever did was gear him up, head to toe, at skate swaps and on ebay. Once he realized he could fall and not get hurt, he was golden, but I don't think getting him out there early helped much at all. I have twins who turn 2 next month, and I'm going to wait until next year.

As for your daughter, still plenty of time! I love our local LTS/LTP programs (MRYHA in Manchester NH)...my son is finishing his first year in LTP after 1.5 years in LTS, and he's now ready for travel hockey. Back when I was a kid, they threw a house league jersey on me when I was 4, dropped a puck (on a full sheet of ice), and said "go play". The oldest, fastest kids scored 15 goals while the others didn't touch the puck. The station-based approach that ADM demands these days is much better. He'll be playing travel at age 7....I wasn't ready until my last year in mites at age 9. Good luck with you little ones! Being a hockey dad is even better than being a hockey player IMO. Cool to experience it the second time around from a different perspective.

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As for your daughter, still plenty of time! I love our local LTS/LTP programs (MRYHA in Manchester NH)...my son is finishing his first year in LTP after 1.5 years in LTS, and he's now ready for travel hockey. Back when I was a kid, they threw a house league jersey on me when I was 4, dropped a puck (on a full sheet of ice), and said "go play". The oldest, fastest kids scored 15 goals while the others didn't touch the puck. The station-based approach that ADM demands these days is much better. He'll be playing travel at age 7....I wasn't ready until my last year in mites at age 9. Good luck with you little ones! Being a hockey dad is even better than being a hockey player IMO. Cool to experience it the second time around from a different perspective.

You'd better watch where you say that. Them's fighting words in some districts.

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You'd better watch where you say that. Them's fighting words in some districts.

I've grown up in one approach, and now I'm coaching the other, and I think starting kids out by focusing on skills is infinitely better than the "drop the puck, good luck kids" approach of years past. I know there are still some old-school organizations, but I'm not planning on putting my kids anywhere near them.

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I've grown up in one approach, and now I'm coaching the other, and I think starting kids out by focusing on skills is infinitely better than the "drop the puck, good luck kids" approach of years past. I know there are still some old-school organizations, but I'm not planning on putting my kids anywhere near them.

The organizations that spend more time teaching systems than skills kill me, but that's a subject for another topic.

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The organizations that spend more time teaching systems than skills kill me, but that's a subject for another topic.

Well, there are a number of combination of approaches, but as BYH points out, teaching skills and skating on a smaller surface allows all kids to touch the puck more and get into situations where they need to know what to do with it more, not just the ones who are bigger and faster at a particular age. To me, that's a "no brainer" that it's better for player development. You'll get a pretty strong argument from a lot of parents, and some coaches, that it's not, though.

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Do you think converting a pool to an ice rink is safe?

I've never done it, nor have I ever seen it done. Without knowing more about the pool in question, I'm not sure I can answer your question. I seem to recall a kit that turned your inground pool into a rink, but I'm not sure that idea ever took off.

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