Our next reader photo submission comes from Len Bruskiewitz. Len is a Westford (MA) native, a father of two, and a fellow rinkbuilder. His image and commentary perfectly captures the little things that make backyard rinks such a fascinating and rewarding venture.
The attached picture is of my son Kevin (who was 8 at the time) and was taken on 12/19/09 during the first skate of the 2009-2010 season. We filled the rink earlier that week and were blessed with an unbelievably cold few days which caused the ice to freeze fast and clear. Skating on the backyard rink always feels like floating on air but this picture reaffirms that feeling. It looks as if there is nothing between the bottom of the Tuuk blades and the liner. My other favorite elements of the picture are the hockey stick in the foreground (this is clearly not a figure skater) and the snow-covered pants (from diving for loose pucks). The very next day, about 8 inches of slushy snow fell on the rink and the ice was cloudy for the rest of the season.
I speak from experience when I say that crystal clear ice is a neat, but often fleeting, experience. My first season, I filled my liner in the midst of a snowstorm. The snow chalked up the ice, and it remained white for the rest of the season. This past year, however, the ice was able to freeze completely without precipitation, allowing us to skate on a six-inch-thick sheet of perfectly clear ice. When you looked down past your skates, you could see the small folds in the liner, and, where I used a clear liner, the matted-down blades of grass underneath. Before long, the snow and the skate blade shavings reduce the downward visibility, and your crystal-clear ice is gone.
Thanks for sharing, Len.
To read more about Len and his rink, visit http://rinkrage.wordpress.com. Have an image you’d like to share with the Backyard-Hockey community? Send it, and your narrative, to firstname.lastname@example.org.