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Newmarket community rink wins documentary spotlight

Rink to be featured on Youtube series by professional filmmaker, thanks to community support
20181221 ice rink night
The Newmarket Lions Park Community Hockey Rink. Supplied photo/Chris Howie

Newmarket Lions Park community hockey rink has won a chance to get featured in a documentary series, thanks to community support.

The rink won an online public vote as one of three finalists to get a full-episode spotlight on the Outdoor Hockey Club documentary series. The 10-episode program will be published on Youtube in early 2023 and feature rinks from across the country.

Chris Howie, who has created and managed the Lions Park rink for nine years, thanked the community for the support and votes.

“It’s a great opportunity to highlight our great community,” Howie said. “I didn’t do the rink for any recognition, but I do think it’s a good opportunity to show our great community on a national level.” 

The series is being directed by  Randy Frykas, a documentary filmmaker who has worked on a variety of sports projects, including for Sportsnet. Frykas started the Outdoor Hockey Club over the pandemic to celebrate outdoor rinks, distributing pucks across the country. Now, he is filming rinks for his next series, in partnership with CARHA Hockey.

“All of you have created great spaces to enjoy the game we love,” Frykas said in a news release. “I am looking forward to visiting the Newmarket Lions Park rink this winter as it will be the perfect addition to the Outdoor Hockey Club series!”

“The popularity of outdoor skating has been on the rise over the past few years, and communities have benefited from having rinks in backyards, neighbourhood parks, public spaces, and frozen bodies of water,” CARHA coordinator of membership services and program development Kristan Leach said. “We were overwhelmed by the response and community support shown to our finalists.”

Community members quickly reacted positively to the news. 

“Congratulations Chris Howie on your outdoor arena winning the featured series,” Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said on social media. “Thank you to all the Newmarket folks who voted and supported Chris and our outdoor rink.”

Howie said he expects the film crew to come by in January when the rink should be in good condition. He added that he hopes it can also promote the causes for which the rink collects donations throughout the season, including the Newmarket Food Pantry.

“Lots of people need help, and I’m glad the rink has become a path, or a tool, to help people get back to the community,” he said. “There are neighbours n need we all should be supporting.” 

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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