If you have enough space in your backyard this winter you could actually build your own private hockey rink. You won't have to wait your turn at the crowded local rink for time on the ice to hone those hockey skills. Get a group of friends to join you to practice those plays or just practice your skating. Building your backyard rink isn't difficult; it only requires a few materials from the hardware and the help of Mother Nature.
- Determine the area the hockey rink will occupy. Find a spacious area where it won't be an obstacle and make sure it is clear from debris. Other than space you will also have to consider finding the flattest surface area possible. Clear away sharp stones or twigs that can cause damage to the rink.
- Draw up a plan for design and measurements. You only need to determine how big the rink would be and what shape you want it to be. Use objects like pegs, colored stones or anything that you can use to mark the area the rink will occupy in your backyard. Use a carpenter's measuring tape to get the width, length and height of your rink.
- Level the area to be used. To make sure you have a level area you can use four pegs that are the same length and some string. Place the pegs in the ground outlining the area and tie the strings around the pegs. If you bury the peg by an inch make sure all the other pegs are put in as deep. Measure the string's height on all four sides. If one side is deeper you can pile some soil on that area to make sure you'll have an even rink on all sides.
- Prepare the materials needed for assembly. Depending on the height of your rink or thickness of ice, you will need the appropriate sized lumber for the frame. You'll need at least 2 inches of ice as base for your rink and remember water when frozen expands so put allowances on measurements. The boards must be able to take the tension. Purchase a tarp big enough to cover your desired area and big enough to wrap around the boards. You'll need enough screws to assemble the boards and they must be the right size to hold them in place without puncturing the tarp.
- Lay the tarp on the area and assemble the pieces of lumber. Lay out the tarp over the area and screw the pieces of lumber together to build the frame. You may want to reinforce your joints with extra boards as the tension the ice produces may cause your joints to loosen. Pull the tarp's edges inside and out over the frame. You must have enough tarp material to go over and out to about an inch or two over the frame.
- Fill the rink with water. When you've assembled the tarp and frame the next step is to fill it with about 2 inches of water then wait for Mother Nature to do the rest. When the ice is frozen solid you can smooth it by pouring a thin layer of water over it.
Having your own hockey rink will give you enough practice time and keep you in shape. You and your family will have loads of fun skating on your very own rink and it's also a great way to introduce hockey to kids. Some of the materials are reusable, so be sure to disassemble and store them carefully.