Moosomin’s outdoor rink will be in the documentary series, Outdoor Hockey Club

November 30, 2022, 11:26 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A picture of Moosomin’s outdoor ice rink from last winter. The rink is located at the town’s Bradley Park.

Canadian filmmaker Randy Frykas will be coming to Moosomin on Dec. 11 and 12 to capture the town’s historical outdoor ice rink as part of his ten-episode documentary series: Outdoor Hockey Club.

The series will feature outdoor rinks on scenic lakes, frozen rivers, extraordinary backyard rinks, local community clubs, and more from all across Canada.

Rec Director Mike Schwean was asked how Frykas contacted him about including Moosomin in the series.

“Randy was told about the history of our community. Then I think he did a bit of digging and got a hold of us to be part of the series,” said Schwean.

“We sent him some information and it was done pretty quickly. It’s cool. We have quite a history of our outdoor rinks in Moosomin, it’s nice to be recognized for our piece of tradition.

“We have the first outdoor rink in Western Canada and that’s something he‘s interested in. We’re excited that we’re a part of the series. It is a national series, we try to promote the town as much as we can through our Parks and Rec stuff. This is something that is going to be on a national stage and we’ll use it on our website. It’s great.”

On Sunday Dec. 11, there will be a barbecue sponsored by Co-op. There will be hotdogs and hamburgers for people to enjoy, free of charge.

There will also be a few recreation games going on throughout the day by members from the girls skating teams in town, and members from the local hockey teams. Schwean said he hopes to see people from the community come down to the rink that day.

Then on the Monday, students from MacLeod Elementary School will be coming down to skate at the rink.

People from the community are encouraged to come out for both days, especially on Sunday.

Schwean spoke a bit about the history behind Moosomin’s outdoor rink.

“An Englishman, he was at Moosomin’s Grosvenor Hotel. He came to Moosomin and he had some history with English people coming over and apparently they skated, which is common in England,” said Schwean.

“There was a slough out back at the Grosvenor Hotel and he built an outdoor rink there. When his visitors came to the hotel they would go out there and skate.

“That was the first outdoor rink documented in Western Canada. Of course it was back in 1882, when Moosomin was in the Northwest Territories before Saskatchewan was formed.

“From there it was popular so they built an indoor rink and then a second indoor rink. They were the first two indoor rinks in the Northwest Territories, it’s pretty cool. That was all stuff in the paper, in one of the very first World-Spectators.”

Aside from Moosomin, Frykas will be including Beavercreek Farms near MacGregor, MB, Jeff Nash’s backyard rink in Edmonton, AB, Washiiyeh and Andrew Jeannotte’s rink in Maniwaki, QC, Moe’s backyard rink near Smiths Falls, ON, Hillcrest Community Rink in Whitehorse, YT, Lions Park Rink in Newmarket, ON, and a special season ending episode in Stonewall, MB, in his series.

The other river rink episodes are not yet confirmed and will be captured next winter.

Schwean spoke about what it means to the community of Moosomin to be included in the nation wide Outdoor Hockey Club documentary series.

“We’ve always been pretty cognisant of promoting the community and all of the stuff that we do,” he said.

“This is a chance to show the country, for a small town, that we have a lot of things to offer.

“When I look at cities, I’m always looking at everything, I think our outdoor rink is as nice as anyone’s. The skating path is super cool, which is one of the few good things from Covid.

“This video is a chance to promote our town. We have a lot of facilities here and a lot of the things we have is first class. People remember stuff like that.”

Around Moosomin’s outdoor rink, there is also a structured skating path for the community to use. The path surrounds the rink and goes in a full circle within Bradley Park.

Because the town’s indoor rinks are always full, Schwean said Moosomin’s outdoor rink is highly used.

“We have so little skating room at the big rink that this outdoor rink gets used the most for skating,” he said.

“This year is a record, I say that every year, but this year we have two more girls skating teams and because there’s no open time at the big outdoor rink, it’s not unusual to have 40 or 50 kids on it at a time.

“It’s busy, especially when it’s nice out, even when it’s cold it’s still busy. There’s kids out there all the time.

“There’s another cool part too, of course because we’re a big hockey town, we have 20 kids that grew up here who played junior, college, even pro hockey, and they meet up every Christmas to play a shinney game out there.

“They dress in the big rink and skate over because they all skated and used that rink.”
Schwean spoke about what he hopes people who live outside of Moosomin get from the documentary series.

“I hope they get a chance to see what we do for the community and maybe it will inspire some other communities to build outdoor rinks,” he said.

“We take pride in our stuff for the community. Anytime you get kids out for skating, socials or anything, is great. We just hope our community helps promote active living. It’s nice of Randy to come down and include us, I’m looking forward to meeting him.”