As a stated in the first post, my wife and I were expecting our first child. Throughout the entire pregnancy, she reassured me - 'it's a boy', 'i know it's a boy', 'it has to be a boy'. Well guess what, in June 2000, my wife gave birth to a "BOY, AND WHAT A BOY!" 'Ah, Mr. MacIsaac, that's the umbilical cord' (A little Simpsons humor for you). Actually, ('SURPRISE'!!) my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl and I couldn't have been more proud in my life. And you know what else, girls can play hockey too!! Damn straight they can and my daughter is going to be the best damn hockey player ever because I'm going to make a backyard rink. The following winter was crazy and I switched jobs again - there was just no time so another year went by.
In the fall of 2001, I was cleaning up the backyard from all the fallen leaves and I reaffirmed it - I'm going to try and make a rink. I started researching how to make one - without spending a lot of money. The cheapest solution: use snow, pack the hell out of it and soak it with water. Well, that sounds easy enough. I don't have a lot of notes from that year but I recall packing the snow by foot. The first heavy snow fall would have come after Christmas that year or in early January. It was time consuming and didn't do a very good job. I'm pretty sure my neighbour came over and offered his snowshoes to pack the snow.
Once the snow was packed, I started soaking the snow. I soaked and I soaked and I soaked - light spray, heavy spray, every spray that I could find on the nozzle. My hands were soaking wet, my boots were soggy, but you know what I started seeing - ICE! Ice was forming on the snow. I worked this method for nights on end - in -20'C weather until ungodly hours into the morning.
Eventually, I had an ice surface. I had enough snow to make ridges around the side to help keep the water in when I flooded again. I had a little system and it seemed to work. I remember the first skate, it was rough as hell, but I was skating on my backyard. The rink that year was about 16' x 25' - it wasn't very big but it was the greatest rink ever (kind of like the pond when I was a kid) because I made myself a backyard rink.
Up Next: Year 2: Expansion