It’s one of the most Canadian pastimes – playing shinny on an outdoor rink in winter. Now, the Saskatoon Blades want more youth in the city to experience a piece of the magic.
The junior hockey team has pitched the idea of a regulation-sized outdoor hockey rink in the city’s core neighbourhoods that would be built in conjunction with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations next year.
“We thought what is better than an outdoor hockey rink where a lot of us grew up gathering to play shinny,” Blades President Steve Hogle said.
“It’s an idea we’re floating out there to see if has some traction. When you talk to people there’s a great deal of excitement, but we do need to find some partners to make it happen.”
Hogle envisions the facility becoming a community hub to embrace winter, while at the same time exposing newcomers and inner city youth to the game.
“How can we take the game to them and enjoy a piece of Canadiana?” Hogle said, adding the year-round facility could also be used for lacrosse and basketball.
The team has met with the local school divisions about three potential sites that could be a good fit for such a facility.
“We’re looking at those areas in terms of a wonderful need that we could address. Lots of people – lots of newcomers to Canada – lots of First Nations people, where they could come walk to the rink,” Hogle said.
“We would want a place where you could come get skates, helmets and sticks.”
Hogle said the next step is an endorsement from city council before the idea goes any further.