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Outdoor rink a sense of pride for N.B. community

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The outdoor community rink… as Canadian as maple syrup and hockey itself.

Remi Bartin and his buddy laced them up and spent a good chunk of the afternoon at the rink in Pointe-du-Chêne, N.B., on Tuesday during their day off.

“We feel pretty fortunate obviously and it’s very good for the community and the kids. It’s a nice little rink for everyone to play,” said Bartin.

Volunteers in Pointe-du-Chêne have provided a rink for around 15 years, but Richard Daley, the president of the Pointe-du-Chêne Recreation and Community Centre, said this season’s version is a bit different.

“We got these boards on as well we expanded our shack. We have a warming shack with a bathroom now and hot water for watering so we’re starting to move up a little bit,” said Daley.

It’s also been re-named after Gordie Gallant, a Pointe-du-Chêne resident who played 12 seasons of professional hockey from 1970 to 1982, including a season with the Quebec Nordiques when they were still in the World Hockey Association.

But it isn’t easy. Volunteers from the community centre spend countless hours flooding and maintaining the ice.

“Of course the weather changes so we get cold weather, warm weather. It melts, it freezes again. Get the slush off so there’s a lot of maintenance in between,” said Daley.

Volunteer Darryl Cormier has been doing the lion’s share of the work on the rink since it opened two weeks ago.

He takes a great sense of pride knowing all of his and Daley’s hard work is paying off and providing a place for children to play.

“I have a passion for the game of hockey. I’ve been involved since I was a kid. I have four kids that played. My little guy still goes at it and if it wouldn’t be for that, I wouldn’t do it,” said Cormier.

Daley loves seeing kids on the rink.

“Every time I drive by I take a look over and I say, ‘Yes, the kids are skating. This is awesome,’ so the more kids that can come down to use it, the happier we are,” said Daley.

Hockey is king in Pointe-du-Chêne according to Cormier, so having more than one ice surface in the community is a big deal.

“We only have the one rink in Shediac and the ice-time with all the multiple teams that we have, it’s tough to practice extra,” said Cormier. “Plus, it’s nice for the kids who don’t have the opportunity to play real hockey. They can come here and throw on some skates and still get to play.”

Bartin said the rink is in great shape.

“The ice is pretty good. It’s rock hard. Everything you can ask for,” said Bartin.

No better place for a player, young or old, to spend the winter.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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