Crysler residents pull together to build new covered ice rink

Residents in the small town of Crysler, Ont., south of Casselman, are celebrating the near completion of a covered ice rink they pulled together to build.
People in the small town of Crysler, Ont., are putting the finishing touches on a brand new outdoor covered ice rink. 2:15
Pierre Thibault, president of the Crysler Community Centre, says about 200 volunteers donated thousands of hours of labour time to build the rink. (CBC News)
Residents in the small town of Crysler, Ont., south of Casselman, are celebrating the near completion of a covered ice rink they pulled together to build.

Crysler only has a population of about 1,200, but about 200 of them played a part in building their rink of dreams with volunteer labour and donated materials, along with financial help from government grants.

"There's thousands of hours of [volunteer labour] here. I used to go to work and come back at lunchtime, and there'd be 15, 16, 17 guys working on the rink. Some of them I didn't even know; they just show up because they heard about the cause and they were here to help us out," said Pierre Thibault, president of the Crysler Community Centre.

"The best feeling is on the ice right now. When you see the kids with a smile on their face, you know that you actually did something for the community. It's amazing. The kids have something to do, a place to go."

A lot of materials used to build the rink were donated or recycled. (CBC News)
About 98 per cent of the glass and boards are recycled from three arenas nearby, and the Zamboni is also donated.

The community is determined to make the rink free to enjoy. There are over 80 hours a week of free public skating and shinny hockey.

About 10 hours a week are rented out.

"It was really nice and I thank them for what they did. It turned out to be a really nice rink," said 18-year-old Lucas Green, who comes nearly every night after school.

Lucas Green, 18, says it's nice to play hockey games after school with other teens. (CBC News)
He helped paint the walls and build the structure.

"It's nice to get out of the wind, compared to the old rink, and it's really nice to be out here and play a hockey game with all the other teenagers," he said. 

The sports park also includes a new soccer and football field, volleyball court and gazebo close to the rink.

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