A new outdoor ground hockey rink at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, N.S., is finally open after years of trying to find an appropriate, level space for it to go.
"The pad went down last week, we set the rink up yesterday and we're hoping that the kids of Yarmouth will have a great time using it," said Gil Dares, general manager of the Mariners Centre.
Plans for the rink have been in the works since 2013, when Play On — a national outdoor street hockey tournament — was held in Yarmouth.
Free to use
Play On sold the 12-metre wide, 37-metre long rink to the Town of Yarmouth and the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth for about $5,500.
The town and municipality co-own the Mariners Centre and the rink was stored there while a site was being chosen.
Dares said site preparation, which included levelling out the ground area, cost about $35,000.
The rink is free for anyone to use, but Dares said people should call the Mariners Centre to book it. He said if the rink is empty, people can hop in and try it out.
"We want its use maximized because we've been waiting a long time to put it up," said Dares, adding he was getting calls from people prior to the rink's completion about reserving it for birthday parties.
'A good investment'
Now that the rink is finished, Dares said he would like to use it to attract ground hockey tournaments to Yarmouth.
He said the outdoor rink is also a safer and more convenient option for children.
"You're not shouting 'Car!' every five minutes because you're not out on the street," Dares said. "Anything that gets kids and anyone of any age out doing active sports is a good investment."
Frank Grant, director of Yarmouth Recreation, said the rink has been worth the wait.
"One of the issues in the area is a lot of school gyms do not permit ball hockey to be played in their gym ... so I'm anticipating some of those groups will be using it regularly," said Grant.
"We're looking forward to people using it just like an open soccer field or a ball field or even a park. It's just another great piece of recreational infrastructure for Yarmouth."