Need Ice Time? There Are Some Options

How to make a homemade ice rink

The U.S. has nearly 2,000 indoor ice hockey rinks and about 500 outdoor ones, but it often isn’t enough, especially in places that don’t have winter for six months out of the year. Hockey is seeing explosive growth in the U.S., with nearly 520,000 registered players in the 2013-2014 season, the most ever. That has led to long wait times for ice time at rinks, many of which open early in the morning and stay open late at night. Unlike other sports such as baseball and soccer, where some turf and a few nets can transform a warehouse into a sports facility, making a hockey rink is complicated and expensive. There are some alternatives you can look into, but none of them are particularly convenient.

If you live somewhere with a significant winter season, you can look into getting some ice time outside. Local lakes and creeks may offer a surface you can use to practice. You have to do your research, however, to make sure that the body of water you are using is safe for hockey. Local weather services or government agencies usually will offer an ice thickness measurement and tell you when it is safe to be on open ice. You also want to check to make sure the area of ice you are looking to use is open to the public.

If you have the money and want to go to the trouble of learning how to build a backyard ice rink, that is another option. Keep in mind, though, that this is not an option for everyone. First off, you need to have a sizable piece of property to accommodate even a small homemade ice rink. In addition, you have to be able to shoulder the costs. Even if it is going to be a seasonal rink and you aren’t going to buy a cooling system, you still need supplies, including wood to build a rink frame, ice rink brackets and an ice rink liner. The process of how to build a backyard ice rink also takes a tremendous amount of time, as you have to be able to care for the ice while it is forming and after it is in place. You also take on a tremendous amount of liability with having an ice rink in your backyard.

If you or your kids are into hockey, you hopefully have some choices where you live of indoor or community rinks. If you are looking for other options, learning how to build a backyard ice rink can be one to consider, but just be sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

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