Fort McMurray man wins 'hoser' award for outdoor rink

A Fort McMurray man has been awarded a bizarre yet well-earned title: Great Canadian Hoser.

Kris Jackson's hockey rink among 5 nominees honoured in Canada

Kris Jackson's backyard rink in Fort McMurray, Alta., won one of Canadian Tire's "Great Canadian Hoser" awards. (Supplied/CBC)

A Fort McMurray man has been awarded a bizarre but well-earned title: Great Canadian Hoser. 

Kris Jackson has been building backyard hockey rinks for the last four years, but this winter his idea took off in a big way.

He flooded a 20-foot by 30-foot rink complete with small boards and LED-illuminated red and blue lines, and decorated it with the logos of Canadian NHL teams.

For his efforts, he won one of five Canadian Tire "Great Canadian Hoser" awards. He received a trophy and a $1,000 giftcard — and definitely some bragging rights.

"It totally took me by surprise," Jackson said. "I didn't set out to win an award. I didn't even know about the award until I was called and they said my rink was nominated so the attention's been a little bit overwhelming."

Kris Jackson's backyard rink in Fort McMurray, Alta., won one of Canadian Tire's "Great Canadian Hoser" awards. He received a $1000 gift card and a "golden hose" trophy for his efforts.

Rink watching

Jackson's rink is also featured on a website called RinkWatch — a "citizen science" site that pools data from rinks across the country.

The project, which has been running for four years, allows rink-builders like Jackson to pin their rink on a map and report the skating conditions. Not only does it provide would-be skaters with an idea of what rinks might be available, it allows the RinkWatch team to study winter trends. 

"It's been a tough winter," said team member Robert McLeman, an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

"It's been very frustrating for people. It was a late start to begin with and the freeze/thaw cycle has just been terrible. It's really tough when you're trying to keep the ice frozen."

McLeman and his team found that an average daily temperature of -5 C is ideal for maintaining backyard rinks.

Kris Jackson's backyard rink earned him the title of "Great Canadian Hoser." (Supplied/CBC)

Jackson said he's planning on making next year's rink even better — but he might run into some space constraints.

"I've been half-joking that I might have to tear down my garage to make room for a bigger rink," he said.

"But I think I can come up with some ideas to make it a bit bigger, a bit better."


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