CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Several months ago, with COVID still very much an issue and hockey season starting, Canfield’s Mike and Margaret DeNiro were unsure how much ice time their kids and their cousins would be getting. The solution – build an ice rink in their backyard.
Thursday afternoon in the DeNiro backyard on Blueberry Hill Drive, young Dominic DeNiro played full time goalie as his relatives came at him shot after shot.
“My kids play hockey. I have a 6-year-old who loves hockey. I have two nephews and a niece that play hockey,” Margaret said. “When COVID hit, we didn’t know what was going to happen with hockey. My husband said let’s put a rink in the backyard.”
Cousin Gavin Rupert said they tried building a rink five years ago, but it didn’t work out. That winter was too warm.
Construction of the rink started on December 3. It has two custom-made pieces of plastic supported by a wooden frame. The ice was made layer by layer, hour by hour, with Margaret spraying water on the ice over five days to the point where today it’s from 3 to 11 inches thick.
When asked how many spray-downs it took to make the ice, Margaret had to think.
“I couldn’t even count. I couldn’t even tell you, 50? More than that. 100? Probably more than that,” Margaret said.
Three weeks ago they started skating. There’s a scraper on hand to clean the ice along with an area with seating and a fire pit.
“These kids are so passionate about skating and hockey. It’s so worth it,” Margaret said.
Come summer, the plan is to put in a concrete or asphalt surface, which can double as a basketball court and the base for a rink.
“I want to make it bigger. I want to put lights up around it and put lights underneath the ice, so it’s an experience, and it’s something they’ll always remember,’ Margaret said.
As the kids watched the rink being built, they kept on wanting to skate on it even though it wasn’t ready. Eventually, the parents gave in, still having to block off part of it because it wasn’t ready.