TYENDINAGA – Tyendinaga has the beginnings of a new outdoor Olympic-sized skating rink. The idea was sparked when two long-time residents of Tyendinaga, Ogwari Brant and Mario Baptiste were, “sitting at [Brant’s] kitchen table having coffee and we both agreed that the children on the reserve needed a safe place to skate.”
From there, Brant brought the idea to Chief Ron Maracle, who liked the idea and got the ball rolling. Shortly after, it was given the go ahead by the Band Property maintenance and the Recreation Coordinator – and today, the rink is ready.
Brant is the first to say the ice needs to be a bit smoother, but fixing that shouldn’t be too difficult, considering his full-time job includes flooding rinks in Kingston. It takes about 20, 000 gallons of water to turn the lacrosse rink into a skating rink and some very cold weather. He still needs to McGyver his 4-wheeler into a Zamboni-like machine to help smooth the ice.
Opening Day was last Saturday, January 31st, and they had a chip truck and music playing. When the Two Row Times got there that evening, the music still played and people continued to show up.
Three young men, Jared Calladine, Hunter Storms and Cole Storms were already there playing hockey. Other people arrived ready to skate, and still more hockey players showed up to pass a few pucks around. As the evening went on, it was apparent that the community wanted a place to skate.
As long as the weather stays cold, people can have scheduled hockey games and the rink is open to the public. It doesn’t cost anything to skate, but donations are greatly appreciated.
Brian Calladine, a resident of Tyendinaga was optimistic about the youth of Tyendinaga enjoying the skating rink. When asked why he was there, he said, “Play a little hockey, check out the new rink, give the kids something to do at 6:30 p.m. in the pitch black. But the lights are on, so it’s working pretty good. They seem to be having fun. Keeps them out of trouble.”
When asked if he felt many people would use the rink, Calladine said, “I think it’s gonna work, the kids are gonna come here. Everybody has a rink in their backyard, but here is a place everybody can get together and go for it.”
The skating rink is a great addition to the recreational infrastructure that seems to be evolving on York Rd. It wasn’t too long ago that the lacrosse rink’s location seemed odd. However, nowadays, it seems perfectly normal juxtaposed with a relatively new skateboarding park and the long-standing ball diamond.
Signage was made by Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, which includes a sponsor and rules board. A large contribution was made by Ward’s Gas Bar and the water came from Leisure Pool Distribution, as well as use of the water truck/pump. Cash donations were made by Flightpath Limousine Service, Village Variety, L&J Lunch Box, McMurter’s Home Centre, D&R Water, Mr. Fry and Mrs. Cone, and Tyendinaga Computers to help make the rink a reality.