Backyard hockey still a Saskatchewan tradition
Despite the puck dropping in the NHL Saturday, 12 players stayed on the ice themselves for a backyard shinny tournament.
Published Saturday, January 19, 2013 6:01PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:05AM CST
Complete with a scoreboard, lights, lines, and a coin at the center, Kevin Dunn’s backyard rink isn’t a typical backyard ice sheet.
The 20-year-old geography student started flooding the ice in November andspent hours building walls and adding all the details.
Today, instead of watching the puck drop in the first NHL game of the season, the two young men held The Igloo Cup – a round robin of three on three shinny.
“We didn’t know the lockout was going to be over, we just decided to plan it for today and it was ironic that it was the first day,” Dunn said. “It’s a bit of a celebration.”
Dunn’s neighbour and player in the all-day shinny tournament, Matthew Webster, was out on the ice taking in the chilly Saskatchewan tradition. “We thought we should do a tournament this year, we even made trophies,” Webster said.
For Webster, the day was a way to get a hockey fix during the lockout. “The NHL just made hockey not as much fun anymore, so we figured why not make a rink and make our fun,” he said.
While Webster’s a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and likes to watch his team play, he acknowledged that playing on your own is something special on its own. “This is true Canadian stuff,” he said.
The rink, named The Igloo, has been an annual tradition for six years. Last year warm weather got in the way, but the tradition is back and the rink is full of people.
The Igloo not only attracts friends and neighbours, but It’s hosted skaters from around the world. Dunn’s rink has hosted skaters from Norway, Japan, California, and Alberta and British Columbia.
And while Dunn likes to get his own ice time, he said he’s excited for the NHL to be back so he can cheer on his Edmonton Oilers. “It’s great, I’m not going to be one of those fans who’s going to quit and not watch hockey all year just because of the lockout,” Dunn said.
But the NHL will have to wait – the Igloo Cup final starts right away.
Below is a video documenting the making of The Igloo.