An outdoor rink in Kipling, Sask. is garnering a ton of attention within the province for its unique style and professional-like look.
Local kids and beyond will soon get a chance to try it out, when it opens to the public next Friday as long the weather cooperates.
The rinks sits in the back yard of Kipling resident Alan Batters, the man behind the funding.
“If I had something like this when I was a kid, I would have loved it,” Batters said. “And this year with COVID, the [indoor] rink is only open certain hours…I just thought it would be nice to give back.”
The ice has all the standard features of an indoor rink including red and blue lines, faceoff circles and long crease areas.
Batters even bought a Zamboni to maintain excellent ice conditions and also added a ton of lights.
“The people are proud of it. They see the lights and it kind of feels Christmassy when you drive by,” Batters said.
Upkeep on a rink of this magnitude isn’t easy, which is why the community is lucky to have Bobby Byrnell.
Byrnell is a professional ice maker who worked at the World Juniors in Vancouver in 2006 and the Olympics in 2010.
He operates the indoor rink in Kipling.
“It’s such a huge thing to do and I’m just so blown away by it,” Byrnell said. “So many parents and people are super excited. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Batters and Byrnell built an outdoor rink last winter, but nothing like this year’s.
“The interest was very good last year. There were a lot of kids out there who normally wouldn’t go to the (indoor) rink, but were coming after school with their skates and their sticks,” Batters said.
“Even the parents in the evening would come out. We had fire pits so it was really nice to see families out. So, we thought let’s do it a little bit better this year.”
Batters owns Gee Bee Construction in town and says people can thank his staff, who have done a lot of the heavy lifting.
Once ready, the rink will be open to everybody. There will also be a person who’ll monitor the rink to ensure COVID-19 restrictions are met so everyone can enjoy the space in a safe manor.
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