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Good ice, with the zamboni flooding. The zamboni has the Toronto Maple Leafs on it, even though they didn't give the zamboni -- in return for giving the boards and the scoreboard three years ago, the Leafs got to "wrap" some pictures on the zamboni. The images show kids playing hockey, bound (maybe) for the NHL.
The rink staff said that they began to cool the rink with the compressors over a week ago (Nov.20) and they started ice-making on last weekend. But then the weather wrecked the first layer and they had to begin again on Tuesday Nov.25.
Rennie Rink ice is thick and excellent after one week open. Inside there's lots of chat among neighbours waiting for their kids to have their figure skating lesson. A young man sells pre-wrapped Dad's cookies and he makes hot chocolate by the cup (with baby marshmallows). He says the reason he sits at a table in the middle of the room with his kettle and his cups is that he doesn't want to raise wrong expectations in the buyers -- doesn't want people to think he's got more to sell.
All proceeds on Sunday morning go to the Swansea Figure Skating Assocation. The cookie seller is not a figure skater himself -- he says he's manning the snack table because he's working off his school community hours.
At 8.30 pm the large parking lot is full to capacity -- it's girls' hockey night and every change-room is full. Lots of parents/friends watching, some standing beside the rink and some looking down from the changeroom above. The snack bar is open, staffed by three young guys who say they're doing this as volunteer hours. Zero healthy snacks! Just chips and chocolate bars and pre-wrapped cookies. They say that on Saturday the menu is more varied, even including toasted bagels.
Two hockey teams on the hockey side and 17 pleasure-skaters on the other side.
The zamboni operator doesn't know when this rink was cleared from last night's snow -- but when he came on duty at 3 pm, it was all done. He says he cleans the ice often, up to five times a shift.
At 4.30 pm the rink was in good condition, although the weather was foggy and mild. The zamboni driver said that this was the second day of a hockey tournament and there had been a different game every hour. To prepare for the tournament he had come in at 6 a.m. and worked on the ice for three hours. Then the games had gone on, and despite the showers and the mild weather, only a single game had been forfeited -- all the other games were played.
The ice was about an inch lower because he had shaved it every time, but that was not a problem, the operator said, because it had been over three inches thick already.
Unlike almost all the other rinks in the central-Toronto area, this rink got maintenance, and therefore it had no water on it at all.
The operator said that the staff of this particular rink try to keep the ice not too thick, and sometimes when they know they want to shave ice, they run off the compressors at night so the ice will be a little softer in the morning, and easier to shave.
The rink was really full of people, the big parking lot had no spaces left. There was a big shinny game and there were lots of people skating around the tree. The ice was excellent -- the zamboni driver said he's been assigned to work 10 to 6, all by himself -- no rink staff at all! He said it's strange to have only himself there as staff. But the scene looked verv friendly, lots of Happy New Year's, nobody acting foolish, so that they would have needed direction from a rink guard.
The zamboni driver said that they have not lost one day all season so far.
A rainy day with a high of 8. Closed technically all day long, because of weather forecast of torrential downpours -- so they cancelled all permits in west and closed all rinks. Yet at 1:30 seemed solid, a little wet, a concrete worry near boards patched up. 7pm good condition, ice dry, still closed technically but allowing people to skate if they wanted to.
At 10.30 there was water in the center on the hockey pad but the sides were freezing up well (good drainage). The drainage was even better on the pleasure-skating pad and it was more or less ready to be skated on. The zamboni driver was just about to go on. Open from early afternoon.