Newmarket resident Chris Howie is battling the elements as he gets the Lions Park community hockey rink ready for the documentary spotlight.
With warm and sunny weather, Howie said he is using tarps to cover some of the rink and protect it before temperatures cool again toward the weekend. The work comes as a documentary crew is set to start filming in Newmarket this weekend as part of a series on outdoor hockey rinks.
“Most people have abandoned their outdoor rinks. It’s been a terrible winter,” he said. “It’s important. I don’t have a give-up gene. I battled mother nature for nine winters. I haven’t given up. I’ll do everything I can to give the kids one more skate and keep the rink going.”
The longtime community rink is getting featured as part of the Outdoor Hockey Club’s documentary series on rinks across the country. Newmarket’s rink won a fan vote put on by CARHA Hockey last November to get the honour.
The filming is set to take place this weekend. Howie said it is exciting to have filmmakers come in.
“Hoping to raise the exposure of the rink, but also the town of Newmarket, the community, the great people we have here,” Howie said.
The series is filmed by Randy Frykas, who has worked on sports projects, including for Sportsnet. He said the story will be anchored on Howie and his work on the rink, though there will be interviews with others as well.
“To date, this series has taken me to rinks in Saskatchewan, Yukon, Manitoba, and now Ontario. I am looking forward to spending time at the rink in Newmarket, getting to know Chris, and capturing the sights and sounds for a future episode,” Frykas said.
The rink usually has designated times for each age group, which Howie said will remain the case for this upcoming weekend. He is asking for donations to the Newmarket Food Pantry. He also seeks hockey equipment donations which will go to Hockey Equality, a charity that aims to lower the entry barriers into the sport.
On Sunday morning, Howie said the Central York Girls Hockey Association will be taking to the ice.
“It’s important the rink is inclusive,” Howie said. “I want to make sure girls are welcome to come skate and play.”
After filming, the episode based around the Newmarket rink will premiere later on the Outdoor Hockey Club's Youtube channel.
The filming will take place throughout the weekend. The rink is located at Lion’s Park at 424 D’Arcy St.
Howie said the episode will “show that Newmarket is a great community and that the rink is an inclusive spot that gives children of all backgrounds access to learn and play hockey.”