Two brothers from Ottawa made a Zamboni-like machine in the quest for the smoothest ice
Community outdoor rinks are popular spots to spend time during the winter months, and anyone that’s ever been involved in maintaining the ice knows there’s a friendly competition over who has the best surface.
For two brothers in rural south Ottawa, they took the challenge to the next level.
Daryn and Tyler Hicks are volunteers at a community outdoor rink in Metcalfe. They have created a 'Zamboni-like' resurfacing machine in their quest to create the best surface possible.
“Perfect ice for us is just a smooth, clean surface, and free of bumps. Creates a nice, safe skating for the kids,” Daryn Hicks tells CTV News Ottawa. “It started with an internet picture, just browsing around how other people were doing things, and then my brother and I just put the concept in our heads, went to the hardware store, started planning it out in the grocery cart, and came home and built it.”
A tank is fitted to the back of an all-terrain vehicle and, once the water is turned on, it floods the ice.
“The nice thing about it is it’s a fully portable unit. It just sits in there with a strap; no power required, it’s all gravity fed, so essentially, when we get going, we turn the valve on, and gravity will do the work for us,” explains Daryn.
He says that the entire project, which mounts to the back of the ATV, cost about $600 to build. Funds were donated from local businesses after doing some fundraising.
“This is just next level,” says Tyler Hicks. “We can actually use hot water in this drag here, which helps smooth out the ice really nice.
Smooth ice helps when you’re in a friendly competition.
“Got a lot of community rinks, and it’s kind of a battle in who has the best ice,” says Tyler.
It’s their way of giving back, he says.
“We grew up right across the street. I definitely froze my ears three or four times on this rink. Dad and the neighbours did it back in the day. We’re just trying to give back to the community and keep the kids having fun.”