Tighten your skates, hit the nearest outdoor rink and get ready to play some hockey! Canada’s favourite winter pastime is back for the season with rinks finally opening up, thanks to the recent dip in temperature after what felt like a longer than usual wait. But this leaves only one question- where is the best place to play in Ottawa?
With many options of outdoor rinks in the city, I decided to check out which ones students prefer to go to for some good-old shinny.
“I love going to outdoor rinks, it’s a lot better than playing inside,” stated Jon Reid, a first-year Carleton student. “The canal isn’t really a place you can do that just because it’s so busy and not maintained for hockey. It’s great to come to smaller rinks and meet new people every time you skate.”
With an almost 8 km stretch of ice, the Rideau Canal Skateway is without a doubt the biggest rink in Ottawa, but because it covers such a large area the ice is harder to resurface. It also has a strict rule stating that ‘hockey sticks and pucks are not allowed’.
“Smaller rinks are definitely better for hockey,” says Mitchell Anstee, an Algonquin student. “There’s a Sens rink downtown, that’s really nice… I don’t think you can play there but it would be perfect.”
The rink he is referring to is the Senators Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall, but as it is in such a public area, it also has rules disallowing hockey.
Bradley Domjan works as part of the maintenance crew for the new and recently opened Algonquin College outdoor rink, and he believes that good quality ice plays a large role in whether or not some hockey fans are drawn to certain rinks.
“We come every morning to shovel the snow, flood it and then resurface the ice to fill in the cracks,” says Domjan. “It turned out spectacular for its first year.”
But for some, a preferred rink means nothing to the actual sport of outdoor hockey.
“I love hockey and I’ll play it any way possible, it doesn’t matter where,” says Phil Leblanc, a first-year Algonquin student. “Its prime season now, the ice is here so I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.”