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Last updateSat, 20 Jul 2024 10am

Resident recaptures magic of outdoor rink

    The concept of the backyard skating rink may have melted away, but Drumheller resident Pat Doyle resurrected the idea a few years ago and created his own ice surface.
    The backyard rink conjures up fond memories for anyone who has skated upon a sheet of makeshift ice. But the prevalence of such rinks has diminished as time has passed.
    “As a kid I skated on sloughs and my dad and my neighbour always made a backyard rink and I’ve always been involved in hockey,” said Pat Doyle.
    “We used to do a lot in a backyard rink on 5th Street. It was a lot of fun. We used to have all the kids in the neighbourhood come over all day on Saturdays. It’s nice because it’s unorganized. Every Saturday you knew kids would be there if they weren’t playing organized hockey,” said Dave Wood, educational director for the Drumheller Dragons.
    The house Wood so fondly remembers was that of Helen and Eric Holm, who routinely built a backyard rink for everyone to enjoy. It has been years since those days and there’s a perception that the backyard rinks have been disappearing. However, Doyle worked hard to recapture the magic.
    “I’ve had a rink in the back of my house for the past five years,” said Doyle.
    Five winters ago Doyle decided to build a skating rink in his backyard. The process involves making a base of snow, watering it to a slush consistency, letting it settle and freeze, and then water to make a solid layer of ice.
    “The initial set up is the hard part, but after that it’s all gravy, It doesn’t take much to maintain once it’s up and running,” said Doyle.
    The advantages of the backyard rink are that it allows for a more relaxed skating atmosphere.
    “I’m glad we have the rink, kids are glad. We use it at night, because I have lights on it. I can get home from work, plug in the lights, and away we go. It’s fun. We’re at home, so if we get cold we can go in the house. We can make a split decision and do it,” said Doyle.
    Backyard skating rinks also provides a great environment to teach young ones, or older folks, how to skate for the first time. There are no distractions and the pressure of skating around others is not there.
    “It’s easier to teach your kid to skate, because it’s just you and your kid so you can concentrate,” said Doyle. “It’s a little bit more intimate.”
    There are, of course, community rinks scattered around the Valley, used for a casual skating.
    “They’re used quite extensively, and because of that, is there a need for people to have them in their own yards,” said Doyle. “I know the kids who are involved in hockey, they’re always at the outdoor rink.”
     “We used to have so many rinks. The community rinks that are here, it’s easy enough to set some regulations when pucks are allowed or not,” said Wood. There are currently community rinks in East Coulee, Midland, Newcastle, and Nacmine.
    The weather recently has undone some of the hard work that Doyle, or anyone else who has made their own rink, has put into their backyard.
    “Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been cooperating. We haven’t used it since just after Christmas. The ice is really soft, so I don’t want to damage it,” said Doyle.
    Winter is not over yet. A recent cold snap will be another opportunity for the skating rinks, both community and backyard, to refreeze and be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Lining up to be scalped at Cuts 4 Cancer

    For the last seven years February has been busy for Cathy Morse at the Chop Shop as the shop hosts Cuts 4 Cancer.
    The event in dedication of Morse’s mother, has raised thousands of dollars for the Drumheller Area Health Foundation and, in turn, the whole community that uses the hospital. This year they are hoping to raise $30,000. Last year they raised about $25,000, so it is entirely possible.
    The idea is simple, walk into the Chop Shop on February 3 and get a haircut. The funds you pay go directly to the Drumheller Area Health Foundation.
    Of course there are a few that go that one step further, and put a bounty on their hair. The Chop Shop has lined up a number of heads to go under the razor to make that happen.
    Over the last few months residents may have noticed Cathy’s cousin Ken Schinnour of Allied Distributors getting a little shaggy. That is because he is going to shave it all off at the annual event come February 3.
    He laughs that his goal is not to freeze after his locks are shorn, but he hopes to raise $5,000 along the way.
    A famous moustache is about to drop come Cuts 4 Cancer as David Lee has put a bounty on his famous handlebars. So far he has raised about $2,000, and counting.
    Brent Powell of Newcastle Bar has also put his locks on the line and is hoping to raise $1,000. Patsy Andrew at the Drumheller Health Centre is also losing her locks for the cause.
    Titans Football will join the Chop Shop again this year. Last year the team participated and this year they are back. Morse says she has commitment from all members of the championship senior team, including coaches Ken Fournier and Jason Rasmussen, as well as 13 of the bantams.
    Pledge sheets are still available at the Chop Shop for those interested in participating in raising funds.

Breaking up with tobacco is hard to do

    They say that breaking up is hard to do. For some, their relationship with tobacco can span decades, and often outlast relationships.
    Breaking up is hard to do is the theme of this year’s National Non-Smoking Week from January 15-21 and for many that is a reality.
    While National Non-Smoking Week in Drumheller often focuses on youth activities warning of the dangers of tobacco and strategies for not starting, this year tobacco reduction/addictions councillor for Alberta Health Services Martin McSween said they are planning to talk to older populations.
    “We are going to start the week off by connecting with seniors and talking about National Non-Smoking Week, the QuitCore program and other options,” said McSween. “We are dealing with a population that is now 17 per cent in Canada and there are hardcore smokers, people who have been smoking for a long time and people who are just starting. There are youth still interested, still engaging, thinking they are cool. On the senior side, there are lots with old habits that are entrenched and don’t feel the need to change.”
    He said for many older smokers, they are motivated to quit when facing issues of health.
    “There are some who have come to us because their doctors have drawn the line,” said McSween. “That is usually someone who is facing an operation, and a doctor refuses to operate unless the person quits because there is too high of a risk.”
    The Drumheller office will be on the move during National Non-Smoking Week. McSween will be in Three Hills for the second week of the QuitCore cessation program. On Wednesday evening he will be in Hanna for the second week of QuitCore there.
    On Wednesday and Thursday McSween will be working with colleague Trina McFarlane in leading TRAC (tobacco reduction and cessation) training, targeted at health professionals and anybody working in a support manner, such as teachers or someone working in social services.
    “It is basic initial support and want to steer them to the next level of support, a triage person,” said McSween.
    He said it is a two-day intensive course which health professionals can receive training credit.
    Wednesday also marks Weedless Wednesday, a day for smokers to challenge themselves to go a day without smoking. The idea is if a person can go one day, could they push themselves further?
    Wednesday also marks another tradition in Drumheller during National Non-Smoking Week, and that is the annual Knee Hockey Challenge.
    Grade 6 students from Greentree School, Morrin School and St. Anthony’s will gather at Greentree to play in the annual tournament which has been running for 5 years. The Drumheller Dragons are also part of the action.
    More information can be found at Information on cessation can be found at


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