Regina family builds backyard rink with help from national program

A Regina family built their own unique backyard rink, thanks to a “do it yourself” package from a national initiative.

Tanessa Boutin decided to enter the “Operation Puck Drop” contest, a program that called for community builders and local leaders in towns across the country, to enter to win a rink building kit.

“My expectations were that we would never win, in a million years,” Boutin, mother of three, said.

The goal of the contest was to create active, safe, outdoor spaces for families to keep the hockey community alive.

The Boutin’s found out they were one of 200 families in Canada to win.

“When they called me to tell me, she said (the kit) is about 160 pounds so hopefully whoever is at home when you receive the package can carry that in,” Boutin said.

The kit included a rink liner, boards, pucks, two hockey nets and much more.

“Our kids really thrive in a busy and active environment,” Boutin said. “The absence of it is a lot more significant so for us the rink has been huge.”

Boutin’s oldest, Kruz, plays novice level hockey with the Pats, but he hasn’t competed with his team in months.

“Our little guy’s season was cut short in November for hockey so for him to have some of his teammates and friends over to play in the backyard was just really nice to kind of fill that void for him,” Boutin said.

Part of the contest’s entry criteria asked applicants how their rink could become accessible to different demographics.

“For us, our next-door neighbours’ daughter is autistic,” Boutin shared. “It’s been such a wonderful experience to have her have a positive experience with skating.”

And skating all hours of the day, seven days a week in their backyard has brought the Boutin’s together.

“Definitely the rink has brought us closer,” said Boutin. “Being able to just be together outdoors. it’s so much nicer.”