Grand Falls-Windsor home to new artifical ice rink
Grand Falls-Windsor is now the home of one of Newfoundland and Labrador's first indoor artificial ice surfaces.
The town has a new rink that's made entirely of synthetic materials, making it a Zamboni-free zone.
The new surface is made from almost an inch of thick plastic, coated with a gel to give skaters the feeling of a real glide.
"It's a little bit different, and once you're out there for a few minutes, and you find your edges, your comfort zone, you're able to start going," Shane Lukinchuk, the owner of Impact Hockey.
Besides applying gel once a week and sweeping up plastic shavings, the surface doesn't require expensive cooling equipment or a lot of maintenance.
What it does offer however, is extra ice time — year-round.
'There's a thirst for hockey here in Grand Falls-Windsor, without question.' - Shane Lukinchuk
"We don't live in a large city, where you're able to have ice all year round, say St. John's or the larger centres, where they're getting training 12 months out of the year, and we're sort of disconnected from that."
Lukinchuk said it gives young hockey players a better chance to compete.
Real ice time in Grand Falls-Windsor is often in short supply, but Lukinchuk hopes his ice will help ease that demand.
"I mean, it's a good problem to have, because it shows there's a lot of interest, as far as hockey, figure skating, men's, females and different leagues. It's another avenue, it's something if you're looking for extra instruction, there's a thirst for hockey here in Grand Falls-Windsor, without question."
Hockey player Davin Hillier is enjoying the new ice.
"It was actually really interesting, it was really similar to what the real ice was like. I enjoyed it a lot," said Hillier.
With a full schedule of skating booked throughout the fall and winter, staff are already preparing for the prospect of playing hockey in your t-shirt, with tournaments in the works for summer 2014.