Friday’s Chicago Tribune highlighted our favorite passion-hobby sprouting conspicuously across the suburbs of that great city — families taking to skating outdoors, in this case by erecting rinks in their backyards.
“Years ago, backyard ice rinks seemed like a luxury for only the most die-hard hockey fans. But in recent years, it has become the winter swing set for the Chicago suburbs, offering children much-needed outdoor play time and their fathers bragging rights over whose is rink is biggest, smoothest and most fun.”
An interesting set of explanations is offered for the backyard skating boom: the rise of the Blackhawks, the approach of the Winter Olympics, and the NHL’s Winter Classic, which of course was staged at Wrigley Field last year.
And an exciting and encouraging data point is also included in the piece — “NiceRink, a manufacturer of do-it-yourself rink kits, has grown from selling 50 in 1993, the year after it debuted, to 50 kits every four hours . . .” Wow! And the installation or creation of one home rink appears to beget others among jealous neighbors.
Such rinks do exist in the D.C. region, though in more modest numbers.