HOLT — While the winter storm hitting the Northland this week gave the area a bunch of preverbal lemons in the form of rolling power outages, school closures, slick road conditions and bitter temperatures, one family took those lemons and turned them, not into lemonade, but a backyard ice rink.
“Between a mix of YouTube videos and TikTok videos, we just kind of decided to try it this year and see if we could make something work,” said Luke Cox of the do-it-yourself rink he made on his property off 184th Street in rural Holt with his ice hockey-loving son, Ethan Cox. “Mother Nature worked with us finally.”
The rink, about 22 feet wide and 35 feet long, took the father-son pair a little more than three and a half hours to construct.
“The rink itself is made out of 4-inch PVC pipe and construction plastic; that’s what the container itself is. Then my son, Ethan, he came up with the idea of the Rubbermaid tub to hold hot water that leaks out the back as he pulls it. That is the device he uses as a makeshift Zamboni to groom the ice,” said Luke.
Ethan, 14, who plays hockey with the KC Fighting Saints, enjoyed completing the project with his dad.
“It’s pretty fun. It’s kind of frustrating when it snows because it gets pretty bumpy, but it’s really fun in the end,” he said, adding he spends an hour or two each day on the ice he hopes to maintain as long as winter holds out.
“I get cold, but it’s fun,” said Ethan, who also occasionally gets his sister, Emma, to join him on the family ice.
As for tips for other do-it-yourselfers, Luke said the key is picking “a nice, level spot.”
“That was our only downfall. Our spot we put it this year was a little more out of level side to side than we originally thought. When we starting filling it up with water, water filled up a lot deeper on one side than the other and it took a lot longer to freeze,” said the father who plans to make the project a family tradition. “We may pick a different spot next year.”