Montreal

Verdun families make most of cold snap with front-yard hockey rink

Group of parents in Verdun turned a front yard into a pint-sized hockey rink, perfect for pint-sized players.

Neighbourhood children and their parents hit the ice every single day

It took the parents on Osbourne Street in Verdun three months to build the ice hockey rink. (CBC)

A few steps from their front door, four young boys decked out in Montreal Canadiens jerseys are taking shots on net as it begins to feel like -35 on the tiny ice rink.

While the bitter cold has kept most Quebecers indoors over the holidays, it gave families in Verdun the chance to make the most out of winter.

These Verdun parents wanted to make a real ice rink for their children. (CBC)

Stéphane St-Louis says a group of parents who live on Osborne Street came up with the idea of building a front-yard hockey rink during the summer.

"At some point we said 'Well, this winter we should build an ice rink.' We all said that while drinking beer and chilling. And we wished for lots of snow," said St-Louis. "And then we got all kinds of snow."

It took three months of labour and teamwork to build the small ice rink that sits between two iron staircases.

The finishing touches were added last week. The boards are made of packed snow and the ice is divided in half by a deep red line.

A group of Verdun neighbours have gathered together to build a hockey rink for their kids. 0:51

The rink is now filled with neighbourhood kids and their parents every day, said St-Louis.

"There are no words for it," he said.

"All the hours we put into it and [the kids] were watching us doing it and they were like 'Are you guys really doing an ice rink?' And now they're playing on it."
The hockey rink sits on a small front yard in Verdun. (CBC)

The deep freeze in recent days has meant the young players have to go inside regularly to warm up. But it doesn't take long before they lace up their skates and are ready to go out again.

"I like it so much and it's very cool," said Jacob Emard, one of the aspiring NHLers. "I like playing with everyone. It's fun."

While the cold snap is expected to ease up this week, the families plan on watering the ice every night to ensure they can keep playing hockey.

They hope to keep the hockey rink up and running until the end of winter.

Young hockey players from the neighbourhood hit the ice every day. (CBC)

With files from Antoni Nerestant