Saturday, December 27, 2008

Damage Assessed...

It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be... Temp hovered just above zero today, and the rainfall was actually VERY minimal. It just made all the existing snow sticking... and HEAVY. Laura shovelled most of the snow to the sideboards of the rink while I slept today (working midnights) so her son could play... I had to get that snow off the rink, less it freeze into an unmanagemable mess. 1/2 hour later, it was done. I'm hoping to clear it right off tomorrow and do some flooding to repair the damage that was caused last Monday.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Yes, it's raining in Thunder Bay. December 26th, 2008. It's raining, and +5C.

Had I known that, I would have shovelled the rink today... But I didn't, I slept before my midnight shift instead. Hopefully it's just a sprinkel tonight, and I can get at it tomorrow afternoon after I get up... Or maybe early this morning if I have any energy left.

Scooter asked how the side boards are holding up: VERY well indeed! I didn't put any bracing behind them this year - I simply screwed them down to the frame, and then screwed in 1' pieces of 2x4 between every panel - holding them together. They were quite sturdy before - and now they're rock solid due to the reinforcement of snow behind it. :)

Hopefully I can shovel and do a flood to get the ice back up to skateable level this week :)

Merry Boxing Day!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Red Wings Skate

Red Wings Skate
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

Well the Holidays are settling in... Hannah's Red Wings won their final game of the 2008 year in fine fashion (7-2) and had a post party at Boston's Pizza. Hannah asked if she could have some of the girls over to play hockey on Monday afternoon...

Sure, why not.

So 5 of them spent 3 hours out on the rink after Dad spent 2 hours shovelling the 2.5' of snow off of it. Things would have been MUCH worse, if it wasn't for the fact that I figured out that the fan belt slipped off inside the snowblower...

The girls had great fun... and so did I. I ended up playing goal for them for the first hour... just can't keep up to those 10yr old legs anymore!

They did do quite a number on the ice though - it's going to need some patching and repair work once the snow stops falling her...

Anyways, MERRY CHRISTMAS folks! Hope everyone has a festive and safe season, and may your rink by solid and smooth in 09!

- Kev

Monday, December 8, 2008

These skates are made for walk'in... and that's just what they'll do...

So during a normal conversation with my father, I asked him if he knew anyone who had access to old converyor belt rubber... And he did! One of his buddies buddies owns a shop here in town...

Last week he dropped off a 60' roll of 3' wide converyor belt rubber! :D

I placed a piece inside my shed, on the walkway into the shed and all along the western edge of the rink where the kids get on to it... So now the kids can put their skates on in the relative warmth of the shed, and walk right out onto the rink without worries of dulling their blades or falling.

Way to go dad!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good and the Bad

Side Boards
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

So.... what's first?

Might as well get the bad out of the way.

When I did my first big fill, I discovered a smallish hole in the liner along one side... After it had frozen. The water level didn't get nearly as high as I would have liked because of it. So I found the leak, chipped out an area of ice and patched it up using soley "200 mph duct tape". Great stuff that.

So I decided I needed another "big" fill... So I did on a relatively cold night. Added about 3" of water overall. Apparently this is a bad idea. It froze alright... at least the top did anyways. In various spots around the rink though air was trapped between the bottom layer of ice and the new top layer and created soft pockets where the ice broke easily.... We found that out while the kids were skating on it today. Nothing too serious though, but not something I'll repeat.

Today I added 2' side boards on one 1/2 of the rink, at a cost of approx. $75. The boards actually turned out quite nice. I'll just have to paint them white and put that pressure treatment stain on them in the spring. I hope to do the otherside before Christmas... but money will of course be tight for awhile because of the season, so may have to wait.

That being said, Hannah and Parker skated and had fun out there for almost 4 hours today.

It was a good day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My homeboni!

My homeboni!
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

So I finally got around to building my homeboni this weekend... I've yet to try it out because it's been a little warm. I'm hoping for cooler nights this week :D

Parker was also the first skater of the year... November 23rd offically, although it could have been a week sooner. Not too shabby :)

I'll let everyone know how the 'boni works as soon as I can!

First Skate of 08/09
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Working Saturday

So today I had a few hours to kill... I turned them into some very productive hours. First off, I stopped at Home Depot and picked up the parts to make my very own Homeboni! I'm going see how the PVC homeboni works, but it may just get too cold up here and crack... if that's the case, I'll have to make one out of copper... So thats done. Going to try it out tonight. Hannah and I also put up the back stop netting behind one end of the rink. Too many of her wrist shots are sailing over now... which actually isn't a bad thing. And, I replaced a burnt out halogen bulb in one of the flood lights, and put the lights on timers so they should kick on around 6pm and shut off at 11 every night.

Yay for productive days!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Done

The rink is frozen... We had a bit of snow overnight, so Hannah, Parker and I shovelled it off and then played some boot hockey. I found a small tear in one end of the liner, below ice level that was leaking. I'm going to have to try and fix that tomorrow...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flooded... and freezing

-15C tonight, and cold for the next few days... Parker and I were out and flooded Saturday night. The hose ran from around 7 until almost 1 am. Looked out there today and a good solid 1.5" of ice... I'm hoping it's all frozen up by mid week. Its darned cold at night, and still below zero during the day.

No snow either! Things are looking good!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Iceman Cometh...

Here we go, a promising outlook of cold and no rain for the next 5 days.

It's rained here so much, it melted the minimal ice I had.

So tonight, I flood again!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So its raining and overcast today... Just slightly above zero.

It's actually a good thing. Some rain and cool weather = free flood for me. As long as it doesn't snow, we'll be okay.

Looks like we're in for cool/cold weather next week! Can't wait.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The First Flood

The First Flood
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

So I needed something to do to keep my mind occupied for a few hours the other day. It was cold and windy... Albeit more windy than cold... And I decided to fill the rink.

Earlier in the day, I decided to drop by Home Depot and see if the tarps were in... They were, for $109 CDN this year... I picked one up and threw it in the back of the truck, figuring I'd flood next week some time.

One thing to keep in mind - don't unravel a 40x60' tarp in -10C weather in hurricane force winds. Alright, they weren't that bad, but bad enough: my neighbour saw me struggling and dropped by to lend a hand. Mark: I'll help you keep that back alley clear for ya this year!

With Mark's help, an hour later I was filling the rink. This involved scrambling to find various tools - stapler, hose (which was still attached to the house and frozen solid), heat gun, staples for the stapler (thanks again Mark!) and things to keep the tarp from blowing away. You know, rocks, chairs, random pieces of wood.

So I basically just stapled the tarp around the rink and filled it. As the weight of the water pushed the tarp down, it ripped out the staples and I just had to restaple it in the new position... Worked actually quite well.

8 hours with the hose on and I turned it off.

Today there was a good inch, inch and a half of ice. Tonight it's going down to about -12C, which is great news.

Only one semi-problem. Near freezing temps this weekend and a pretty good chance of rain.

On the plus side, its a free flooding.

I'm dedicated my rink this year to Jack Falla and my mother, who I've been estranged from for some years. Even though we didn't get along she got me involved in ourdoor hockey when I was quite young, and it is probably the greatest gift she gave me.

She died this week at the age of 58.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And so it begins anew...

Rink Rats 2008
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy

Monday afternoon I held a rink raisin' party with my buddies from work. The day was overcast and cool, but turned out to be perfect buildin' weather.

The weather has been unseasonably warm up here lately, but I'm hoping within the next couple weeks I'll be able to put the liner down and fill it in the hopes of skating before Christmas :)

This year, I decided to put up the boards at the same time as the base 2x10's. It was definately a multi-person job. Some of the boards had warped a little bit over the summer, but overall it went together with little problem.

We seemed to be missing a few braces here and there, so some new ones were quickly produced.

Lookin' good... better than the weather forecast anyways!Rink Rats 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Time Approaches...

The grass in the backyard still holds much of the green that it did in July... In fact, it's probably longer than it was for most of the summer, seeing as how I haven't cut it in a month. Recking your lawnmower will have adverse effects on your ability to keep the grass trimmed.

This being said, it is time to put the rink up. (Weather permitting of course)

The call has gone out to a couple of good friends for a "Rink Raising" Party.

I will supply the beer and lunch, and hundereds of pounds of lumber to haul around for a couple of hours. They will supply the manual labour, witty comments and cheerful banner (hopefully) for the duration.

Check back on Tuesday for pictures!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack Falla 1944-2008

I've been a follower, poster and sometimes advice giver on a backyard rink forum hosted by Yahoo for the past 3 years.

I've conversed with, and discussed various topics with Jack... I've been meaning to drop down to Chapters to pick up one of his books... I think I'll do that tomorrow. His new book, "Open Ice: Reflections and COnfessions of a Hockey Lifer" was released just after his passing.

I have copied and pasted a post I put up on the yahoo boards for those who did not know Jack.

I too was saddened by the news of Jack's passing.

I just opened the October 14th, 2008 issue of the Hockey News and found a touching article to Jack on page 11 by Kara Yorio. I apologize for any spelling mistakes - I thought I would write it here for those to see that do not have a Hockey News subscription.

Cheers Jack,

Kevin Carlson
Thunder Bay, Ontario

"Jack Falla 1944-2008"

THe skates and stick leaned against a photo display in the Wellesley, Mass funeral home. They looked lonely. It would have been more appropriate if they somehow joined the stream of mourners. For throughout his life, skates and a stick gave Jack Falla as much comfort and companionship and as many memories as any friend who lined up to say goodbye. Falla, an author, professor and sportswriter, died suddenly of a heart attack at age 64 on Sept. 14th.

He left behind his cherished family - wife Barbara, children Tracey and Brian and grandchildren, Demetre and Ella. And he left behind a hockey world filled with friends, colleagues and former students. Falla was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated in the 1980's, chronicling the rise and reign of Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers. He was a professor at Boston University and authoer of Home Ice: Reflections on Backyard RInks and Frozen Ponds; Quest for the Cup; and the recently released Open Ice: Reflections and COnfessions of a Hockey Lifer. He also contributed ot the The Hockey News, writing major essays in Century of Hockey and the Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time and acclaimed back-page columns for Inside HOckey.

Falla loved music and movies, good wine and a good meal. And he loved great writing. All styles, from any era. But hockey was his true passion; the threat pulling everything together, connecting generations and linking a lifetime of moments, good and bad. And despite covering it professionally, he remained forever a fan.

He revere3d the hockey gods who won five straight Cups for Montreal from 1956-1960. He sent highlight tapes of Bobby Orr to people who never saw the great Bruin play - because no one should be a fan of today's game without actually seeing the man who changed it. He felt compelled to attend Maurice Richard's funeral, found a reason to visit Georges Vezina's grave and created a professional purpose for a pilgrimage to the pond where Hobey Baker learned to skate. He loved the game, its beauty and brutality.

He built a backyard rink, the Bacon St. Omni, in Natick Mass and that ice - which was to freeze for its 25th year this winter - provided the page on which he wrote so much of his family history. It was here he passed the puck to his kids and then grandkids. Multiple generations of neighbors and friends signed the rink guest book and were rewarded with a lasting memory.

In "Open Ice", Falla wrote that hockey was important to him "For reasons that transcend standings, statistics and scores." He recalled a conversation with a fellow professor: "Why do you go to the draft? THey don't play hockey," the professor asked. Falla replied, "I go to see my friends," adding that the NHL is like a tribal gathering. "Hockey is the only tribe I belong to," he said.

The tirbe has lost a treasured member. The game has lost a fan and a friend.
-Kara Yorio

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Time is Nearing

The chill of winter is slowly creeping into the NW regions of Ontario...

This means it's almost time to put up the rink.

I've decided I'm going to put them up on the weekend of the 24th when the gf is away on her vacation.... The end boards are also going to be put up at the same time that I do the main frame - the difficulties I had last year due to snowfall and above freezing temperatures caused too much difficulty.

Of course I didn't purchase a back up liner last fall, so I'll be waiting patiently for Home Depot to bring in their rink liners once again.

2 more weeks until we start. I'm hoping for a great year this year and make up for the disaster of a season we had in 2007.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Winter and Work - no co-operation

Well, between working 60+ hrs a week, and winter that is raining one day - and -45C the next... it has not been a great month for skating. It's a sad fact that Hannah hasn't skated once on the rink yet, and Parker only a couple of times. I'm working 12 days in a row, then I'm off for 4 days. I think I'm going to get the rink in skatable condition again, and try and put up the boards.

Of course, the problem with that is that the ground is now pretty much frozen solid. I'm not sure how I'd secure the support beams to the ground (I used rebar stakes last year).

Bah. The only consolation (as little as it is), is that it has been a bad year everywhere from what I can tell for rink builders... Good ole mother nature just isn't cooperating...


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sauk Rapids 3 - Ice Rockets 1

My girlfriend Laura had her son out skating on the rink last week while I was sleeping off a night shift.

I hooked up the hose to the kitchen sink and did 3 full floods of the rink with hot water. I had a couple of areas that were large raised patches which I spent some more time on with the hot water to try and level it out... It worked pretty good.

While I was gone to my daughters hockey tournament in Moose Lake, MN (they came in 2nd out of 8 teams), it rained a bit and helped to further level out the rink.... but unfortunately its been way above normal, temperature wise, and the rink is soft...

Here's wishing for cold weather!

The First Skate

My girlfriend Laura had her son out skating on the rink last week while I was sleeping off a night shift.

I hooked up the hose to the kitchen sink and did 3 full floods of the rink with hot water. I had a couple of areas that were large raised patches which I spent some more time on with the hot water to try and level it out... It worked pretty good.

While I was gone to my daughters hockey tournament in Moose Lake, MN (they came in 2nd out of 8 teams), it rained a bit and helped to further level out the rink.... but unfortunately its been way above normal, temperature wise, and the rink is soft...

Here's wishing for cold weather!