Building Your Own Backyard Hockey Rink

A hockey net in the foreground with a blurry hockey player in the background

Looking for a great way to get fresh air and exercise, and have a ton of fun this winter, without ever having to leave home? Look no further than your very own backyard hockey rink. It’s easy to build and maintain, and there’s no better way to take advantage of all the good things that winter has to offer than by hosting your neighborhood’s shinny tournaments.

Here’s how to build your own backyard hockey rink.


Frames

While frames won’t make or break your setup, they do make the process of building and maintaining a backyard rink a whole lot easier. They also make playing hockey a lot more fun. Just think of how much time you’ll save not having to dig for errant pucks in the snow.

Usually, 2”x4” boards do the trick quite nicely. However, if you have an uneven surface or are working with changes in elevation, you may need something a little wider. Be sure to take precise measurements before heading to the lumberyard.

Once you’ve got your wood, take a look at your plans and get building. Enlisting the help of a few friends tends to make the job a lot easier, and you can always pay them in unlimited ice time.

Plywood frames
$150

Rebar stakes

Provided that Mother Nature does her part, once you fill your rink with water, that water will turn to ice. In order to make sure that the boards you carefully assembled don’t collapse under the pressure of all that cold stuff, you’re going to want some rebar.

Giving high priority to this oft-overlooked component of backyard hockey rinks will make yours nice and sturdy. Pick up one rebar stake for every individual piece of lumber. They’re easy to procure at most hardware stores.

Rebar stakes
$50

Tarp

A tarp acts as an inexpensive liner for your rink. Once you’ve got your frame set up, smooth the tarp down and, using a staple gun, attach it to the wooden boards. Cut away any excess material and you’re good to go. By laying down a plastic liner on the surface area of your soon-to-be skating rink, you’re not as reliant on a heavy snowfall to get things started, and maintenance is a breeze.

Look for a heavy-duty, three-ply tarp. You want it to be able to withstand cold temperatures and mildew. Options range from basic ground covers to premium, high-performance liners, so spend some time figuring out what best suits your needs.

25'x50' ice rink liner tarp
$90

Water

Now that you’ve got the tarp, boards, and rebar, you’re going to need ice. A lot of ice.

First, check the weather forecast. There’s no use in flooding your rink if it’s not going to be cold out. Once you’ve ascertained that temperatures will be below freezing, drag out your garden hose and cover the rink’s surface with one inch of cold water. Allow it to freeze for approximately six to eight hours. Then head back out and add an inch of hot water. Allow it to freeze and keep going, alternating between hot and cold water, until you’re left with about five or so inches of solid ice.

As tempting as it is to rush this step, don’t do it. Your rink is only as good as its ice.

Garden hose
$15

Skates

If you don’t have skates, you’ll only get so far on your brand-new backyard rink. While you’re waiting for that final layer of water to freeze, head to your favorite sporting goods shop to try a few pairs of skates on for size. Spend some time trying on a variety of pairs before settling on the ones that feel perfect.

Hockey skates? Figure skates? That’s your choice. No matter what you pick, you’re going to have a lot of fun breaking them in.

Ice skates
$300

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Image source: ©istockphotos/ImagineGolf