21 April, 2014

Chicago’s Burgeoning Suburban Backyard Rink Boom

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.

For now.


  1. mark wrote:

    Is it consistently cold enough in this area (DC) to set one of these kinds of rinks up for a worth while amount of time?

    31 January, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  2. Tom wrote:

    Great stuff! I grew up outside of Chicago and played “pond hockey” every day after school on an outdoor rink w/o boards that the park district created each winter. I have fond memories of those pickup games.

    31 January, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink