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< December 11 - 12 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 08 - 09 >


December 10, 2008

Christie Pits

Some of last year's goofs have returned, parking their cars in the rink parking lot, perhaps selling drugs to each other, certainly giving the rink a strange ambiance. A violent young man from last year, who has a letter of trespass against him, returned to the property against orders, and another young goof told the rink staff that it would not in their interest to report this visit. Threats! The supervisor has asked the corporate security staff to come by and "show the flag." And the gates to the public parking area are kept locked, so that the goofs can't park there. Neither can anyone else, of course. How long until the number of rink users begins to dwindle? One week? Two weeks?

Ice maintenance: 5 pm only.

 

Dufferin

Weather: High 3 celsius in the early morning, then it cleared and the temperature dropped down to -9 as the day went on. Beautiful full moon over the rink. Lots of skaters in the evening, shinny players especially but also people just skating around on the pleasure-skating side.

 

Trinity

8.50 pm: there were 28 shinny players on the rink, with one puck, plus another 10 people in the boxes, and four more just pulling up in a car. Some of the skaters said that there is no fixed one-puck rule, and that often there are just as many people shooting pucks around as at Dufferin Rink. But on this night the focus was impressive.

The rink building is very clean but the toilets look like they needed replacing several years ago.

 

Buttonwood


unsupervised shinny hockey, what a thrill

The rink is in the middle of a big open space behind an apartment building. At night it's visible from far away because of the bright rink lights and the steam rising from the condenser. The ice looked good, despite bad weather yesterday (rain mixed with snow). At about 7 pm the rink had 25 youth on it, skating around or talking. A few girls, mostly guys. Almost half seemed to be smoking. There was no adult at all, nowhere nearby either. The mood was merry, lots of ribbing, but it didn't sound mean. Some of the kids remembered having their photo taken last year, and they commented on its having been the "featured picture" on the cityrinks.ca homepage for some time.

Sticks were thrown into the middle and then suddenly there was a fast game. There are no boards, and the ice doesn't even cover the whole tennis court -- on one side there's suddenly cement -- but it didn't seem to bother anyone. A few kids wore helmets. Most didn't.


shrine for a murdered youth

Outside of the rink, against the chain link fence, was a shrine for 17-year-old Boris Cikovic, who was murdered near the rink in early October. There was a hockey stick, a basketball, some lanterns, a photograph, a plastic wreath, and a little printed description, maybe from the funeral.

A rink maintenance staff person came by to check on the rink. He said that there had been many layers of water put down to get the rink ready, "every day, every day, we were out here" and he was clearly pleased at the results -- good ice and a rink full of kids, playing shinny. The memorial is right beside them, and at least some of the kids must have known this talented young hockey player. But as long as there are kids and places where they can play, life goes on.

 

Humber Valley

7.30pm -- the rink had good ice, a bit snowy but no problem for skaters. A dozen youth were on the ice with an instructor, having full equipment hockey drills. They had an odd drill where two lines of kids on either side of the rink shot pucks back and forth to each other while other kids took turns running the gauntlet down the middle, trying, I guess, not to get hit. Nobody raised the puck so it didn't seem dangerous, but it was different.

Inside the change room there were another dozen younger boys just changing out of their equipment, and as soon as they left, another crew of kids arrived to get ready for their time.

The rink operator said that the Humber Valley Hockey Association has the ice every evening, and it was those kids who filed in and out according to their time.

The operator said that they do the ice with a newer machine but not a zamboni. The new machine was broken and he was having to use the old one. Even so, the ice was all right, despite the bad snow/rain combination yesterday. But the operator says that he'd like it if the city stopped auctioning off its old $60,000 zambonis for $1000, and placed them in the "major" rinks instead.

The operator said he is a lead hand, but there are also Arena Pool Operators (APO2s) doing ice maintenance for the unboarded rinks they call "minor" rinks in Etobicoke. They do basically the same work for $5 an hour less, and (as the CUPE Local 416 web site says) this will be the source of so many grievances that the arrangement probably can't last.

The operator had worked at the Park Lawn "Bubble" rink and told more stories about it. Apparently the Humber valley Hockey Association bought the bubble for over $250,000 about 14 years ago, in return for getting a reduction for their hockey time -- which is about 80% of the time at Park Lawn. That worked all right, but now the bubble is getting old -- four year after it's "best before" date, and it's unclear what will happen to it. The public skating time is packed -- 150 or more kids from the surrounding apartments, with only two rink guards. The area is predominantly Eastern European, frugal, and without much money. The operator said he's seen brothers come to skate, with one of them skating for 20 minutes and then then taking the skates off so the other brother can have a turn. Apparently there used to be snack and hot chocolate machines and even a skate sharpening machine there, but they've all been taken out because everything gets damaged.

No wonder, with so little public skating time -- it must frustrate people. And the operator says it's pretty hard to get rink guards, when they only have two hours of work at minimum wage -- nobody wants that job.

An hour later, downtown at Trinity and Christie Rinks, there was public over-18 shinny at both rinks. Trinity had 28 out on the ice, 12 in the boxes, and another four guys just arriving. Christie had about as many on their open shinny time, and then a permit came and everyone got off for them. The permit was mixed men-women, again over 20 people. Same story from the time school lets out, only that before 7 it's younger teens, then little kids and parents. There are rink guards, and the wood supply for the "hot stove" at Christie is neatly stacked against the wall. Last night the skates for rent were still being sorted, but they exist.

Different cultures, in a way. A "major" rink like Humber Valley could be called a "working rink." The downtown rinks are more "playing rinks." Nobody from the downtown rinks is going into the NHL (but some of the Humber Valley kids might). Downtown the skaters just get on the ice and play shinny, sometimes for three hours at a stretch, since there's so much free public ice time compared to the Etobicoke and North York rinks. Or on the single pads, during the pleasure-skating time slots, they skate around with their friends, or play British Bulldog when the rink guard has his back turned. At Humber Valley the times are shorter and the hockey skills approach is more serious.

Different strokes. But more public time slots might be helpful at this Humber Valley Rink and others like it, to spread the joy of skating more broadly.

 

Prince Of Wales

At 6.15 the ice had 12 young shinny hockey players playing a lively game, with a few other guys moving their own pucks around in the corners. The schedule says "public skate," but there were no pleasure skaters.

 

Queensway


pre-amalgamation rink staff truck

At 8.15 pm the rink was shiny from just being flooded. A rink maintenance guy sat in his truck nearby. He said he had just done a flood and that he'd be doing one more before his shift ended. He said Queensway hadn't opened yet for the season but would open the next day. he thought there might have been a compressor problem that delayed the rink opening,. He also said they have equipment breakdown a lot -- we're still using equipment from the sixties. His truck looked more recent, but it had the Etobicoke pre-amalgamation logo "Parks and Culture" on it.

The rink has only one weak streetlight to see by, no proper rink lights, for night-time skating. Maybe that's because it's very near houses.

 

Humber Valley

7.30pm -- the rink had good ice, a bit snowy but no problem for skaters. A dozen youth were on the ice with an instructor, having full equipment hockey drills. They had an odd drill where two lines of kids on either side of the rink shot pucks back and forth to each other while other kids took turns running the gauntlet down the middle, trying, I guess, not to get hit. Nobody raised the puck so it didn't seem dangerous, but it was different.

Inside the change room there were another dozen younger boys just changing out of their equipment, and as soon as they left, another crew of kids arrived to get ready for their time.

The rink operator said that the Humber Valley Hockey Association has the ice every evening, and it was those kids who filed in and out according to their time.

The operator said that they do the ice with a newer machine but not a zamboni. The new machine was broken and he was having to use the old one. Even so, the ice was all right, despite the bad snow/rain combination yesterday. But the operator says that he'd like it if the city stopped auctioning off its old $60,000 zambonis for $1000, and placed them in the "major" rinks instead.

The operator said he is a lead hand, but there are also Arena Pool Operators (APO2s) doing ice maintenance for the unboarded rinks they call "minor" rinks in Etobicoke. They do basically the same work for $5 an hour less, and (as the CUPE Local 416 web site says) this will be the source of so many grievances that the arrangement probably can't last.

The operator had worked at the Park Lawn "Bubble" rink and told more stories about it. Apparently the Humber valley Hockey Association bought the bubble for over $250,000 about 14 years ago, in return for getting a reduction for their hockey time -- which is about 80% of the time at Park Lawn. That worked all right, but now the bubble is getting old -- four year after it's "best before" date, and it's unclear what will happen to it. The public skating time is packed -- 150 or more kids from the surrounding apartments, with only two rink guards. The area is predominantly Eastern European, frugal, and without much money. The operator said he's seen brothers come to skate, with one of them skating for 20 minutes and then then taking the skates off so the other brother can have a turn. Apparently there used to be snack and hot chocolate machines and even a skate sharpening machine there, but they've all been taken out because everything gets damaged.

No wonder, with so little public skating time -- it must frustrate people. And the operator says it's pretty hard to get rink guards, when they only have two hours of work at minimum wage -- nobody wants that job.

An hour later, downtown at Trinity and Christie Rinks, there was public over-18 shinny at both rinks. Trinity had 28 out on the ice, 12 in the boxes, and another four guys just arriving. Christie had about as many on their open shinny time, and then a permit came and everyone got off for them. The permit was mixed men-women, again over 20 people. Same story from the time school lets out, only that before 7 it's younger teens, then little kids and parents. There are rink guards, and the wood supply for the "hot stove" at Christie is neatly stacked against the wall. Last night the skates for rent were still being sorted, but they exist.

Different cultures, in a way. A "major" rink like Humber Valley could be called a "working rink." The downtown rinks are more "playing rinks." Nobody from the downtown rinks is going into the NHL (but some of the Humber Valley kids might). Downtown the skaters just get on the ice and play shinny, sometimes for three hours at a stretch, since there's so much free public ice time compared to the Etobicoke and North York rinks. Or on the single pads, during the pleasure-skating time slots, they skate around with their friends, or play British Bulldog when the rink guard has his back turned. At Humber Valley the times are shorter and the hockey skills approach is more serious.

Different strokes. But more public time slots might be helpful at this Humber Valley Rink and others like it, to spread the joy of skating more broadly.

 

Lambton Kingsway

At 8 pm the rink was covered with snow and locked.

 

Greenwood

E-mail from rink supervisor Mark Hawkins

"I supervise 11 of the rinks in Toronto South. Three of the 11 rinks I will have operators on site which Greenwood is one of the three, the remainder 8 will be done by a flying squad. I am currently training new staff and I will have an operator at Greenwood starting on Dec. 20th. I will schedule Greenwood to get a flood this week prior to the 10 a.m. program and you should not have any further issues."

 

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< December 11 - 12 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 08 - 09 >


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