Building a Backyard Hockey Rink
1) Know your highest point...Have at least 5-6 inches of ice above your highest point. If it is too shallow, the ice will not freeze properly and then crack and bubble
2) Frame. Using 2”x12”x10’ boards then connect them with brackets that a 2”x4” can fit in. Next, depending on the slope of the yard, cut plywood sheets and screw them into the frame (closing any gaps caused by sloping/uneven ground). Boards should be a minimum of 12" high (6" of water plus 6" of board to stop the puck). Then reinforce with triangle braces supporting any sloping area and, if needed, put a steel rod (rebar works great) through the brace for extra support. The key is making sure the boards will not slip or move when flooding.
3) Ice rink poly. Once the space is determined and the frame is built, measure and order ice rink poly from Gertens. Allow 3-5 feet of extra ice rink poly for each side in order to make sure to have enough ice rink poly to easily go over the boards once the water is put in.
4) Filling the rink. Typically, it is best to run 1 or 2 garden hoses into the rink. Depending on the size, this can take 10-30 hours. Once flooding has begun, monitor the rink to make sure the ice rink poly stays in place (making sure the wind does not blow your ice rink poly over the boards and back into the water).
Alternative method: Some people believe that it is best to fill the ice rink in 1” intervals, allowing the ice to freeze in between layers.
5) When to fill the rink? Temperatures need to be consistently in the 20's or lower overnight. The rink will take about a week to freeze if flooding all at once. If there is snow in the 48 hour forecast, don't start filling. If it snows, it will freeze and make the rink surface bumpy.
6) When is the rink frozen? After about 5 days, put one foot on the rink and push down. If cracking is heard, then wait a couple more days and repeat. If no cracking, then begin to walk on it. If, while walking, cracking is heard, get off and try again in a few days.
7) Resurfacing: Put a thin layer on when needed.
8) Tips and tricks:
If slushy snow falls on top of a frozen rink, get a shovel and get it off. You don't want it freezing on top of the rink.
Use a wide ice scraper, push shovel and scoop shovel handy to clean the ice rink surface.