6 Gift Ideas for Your Backyard Rink
By John Wundele
The holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year. Kids are home from school and parents are taking time off from work. The family is together at last. What better way to spend your time together than by skating with the entire family! Whether your activity of choice is hockey, figure skating or just simply skating, we have compiled a Christmas shopping list that will improve your backyard rink skating experience.
Now that you have installed your Ice N’Go rink, it’s time to spruce it up. Although we provide you with kits & liners to help you build a functional rink, there are some items we don’t provide that will improve the quality of your rink. The following list contains 6 items that we think every backyard rink could use, to capture the perfect winter family memories.
1. Steel Shovel and Ice Groomer: A steel shovel will not only help with clearing snow, but also with getting rid of those annoying bumps caused by snowfall or rain. While any shovel can clear snow, the steel shovel is one of the only shovels that will break up those pesky bumpy areas, thus leaving you with a clean sheet of ice. You can find this for $30-40 at your local hardware store or Amazon. For those of you with larger rinks, you may want to purchase a snowblower, but they are quite expensive and still require flooding for an even ice surface. Unless you already have one for your driveway or have a large rink, you are most likely better off with the shovel and Ice Groomer. As anyone who’s purchased our rink kit know, it comes with an Ice Groomer. The Ice Groomer is your equivalent to a “home ice resurfacer”, helping you with flooding your rink, ensuring that you get a smooth ice surface to skate on.
2. Lights: Now that the sun sets as early as it does, play on the rink becomes more difficult with having to deal with the darkness. Buying lights offers a simple and cost-effective solution to this problem. It also allows you to be creative as you can make all kinds of nice designs using Christmas lights, or just simply use spotlights to maximize your light output. The only limit here really is your imagination.
3. Hand Warmers: Another issue with playing on an outdoor rink during this time of year, is that some days are brutally cold due to the windchill factor. This can make it hard to play as some outdoor gloves and hockey gloves, aren’t made for these weather conditions and skates have little to no insulation. A quick and cheap fix to this is a hand warmer. This way you can use your gloves and skates without having to worry about getting cold hands or feet. At around $1 per pack there is no better alternative.
4. Rubber Mats: A set of rubber mats, which you can find at any hardware store, can go a long way in your rink setup, especially to prevent constantly sharpening your skates. Place them at the entrance of your rink to minimize the risk of anyone, namely children, slipping and falling as the ice and snow builds up around your rink. Plus, it will protect your deck or patio stones, and most importantly make it much easier to walk in skates. You can find these for around $50 on Amazon and they make a great little addition to your rink.
5. Benches and Heaters: Benches, like the mats are often overlooked in the rink building process as most people are focused on the rink and the quality of their experience on the ice but forget that they must actually get dressed to go for a skate. Some people like to get dressed inside the comfort of their own home, but this makes the walk over to the rink quite awkward. Combine a nice little bench and if dressing in the garage add a space heater, and you have yourself a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing area to tie your skates.
6. Nets and Netting: This last item is specifically for those of you who play hockey on your rink. Having some traditional hockey nets to shoot on is a given, but what about some netting to stop stray pucks from going over? Most people have their rinks setup close to their home, which makes the windows a target for stray pucks. It only takes one puck off the crossbar/post to break a window. Another bonus of this netting is that you can forget about losing pucks in the snow after they go over the boards. Save yourself money in the long-run and get yourself protective netting.
At the end of the day, you can not only cut the amount of time you’ll spend on your rink, but also make the whole process more enjoyable. From the ease of using a brand-new steel-headed shovel rather than a cheap plastic one to clear snow, to the extra time you’ll get to work on the rink due to the inexpensive and aesthetically-pleasing lighting, and the warmth provided from the hand warmers, your rink building experience will be exponentially more enjoyable.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to buy a rink kit or liner during our holiday sale! If you have a kit but are looking for a little more, then look no further as we will be offering gift cards (more info to come), so you can have the best rink on the block this year!