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  • Rink bringing sense of community to neighbourhood

    Rink bringing sense of community to neighbourhood pic 1

    Youth in the community have been utilizing neighbourhood skating rinks throughout the winter. A wide variety of people use the skating rink on a daily basis, from kids playing a hockey game, or parents teaching their child how to skate. Photo by Emily Rogers

    New skating rinks located in community throughout Chestermere are being utilized every day from people of all walks of life.

    “Six rinks are all getting utilized, the one by my house is getting upwards of 50 to 60 kids a day,” said Adopt-A-Rink Volunteer Alex Halat.

    “I see out there daily, there’s mom and dad bringing their three-year-old teaching them how to skate, which is awesome,” said Halat.

    “I’ve got neighbours up my street that never played [hockey] in their lives, they went out bought skates and they’ve been out there with us at least once a week learning,” he said.

    Halat and his neighbours go out to the skating rink every night, shovel it, run a garden hose from a house to flood the ice, and clean up any garbage that was left behind throughout the day.

    “My neighbour and I are a little bit different, we think we’re ice specialists, we’re out there about an hour, to an hour and a half a night messing around with it,” he said.

    He added the average person could shovel and clean up the garbage in around 20 minutes.

    In an attempt to get anyone who uses the skating rink to help maintain the ice surface and keep the area clean, Halat has brought in a flood light and will only turn it on if youth pitch in and help.

    “They all agree, now you’ve got kids from 10 to 17-year-olds at the end of their playing session they’re grabbing shovels and helping out by just shoveling the snow off, which helps me save time,” Halat said.

    Although youth are helping Halat now, keeping them off of the ice before it was built was challenging.

    “The biggest thing is teaching kids to respect it, and pick up garbage,” Halat said.

    Having a skating rink brings a sense of community to the neighbourhood, Halat added.

    “We grew up playing outdoor hockey all the time, it was the sense of hanging out with your neighbours.

    “It sucks in the winter, it’s cold, you don’t see everybody but now there is an excuse to see everybody,” he said.

    “Now there’s a great opportunity to throw on your snow suit, your toque and gloves, go out and see your friends, they’re going to be there,” said Halat.

    Halat’s ultimate goal with bringing a skating rink to the neighbourhood was to keep kids active, engaged, and social.

    “My biggest thing when raising my kids is there are other things to do than play video games or sit on your phone all the time.

    “My kids get home from school at three, by four they’re on that pond,” he said.