News / Halifax

Puck yeah: Halifax man dreams up NHL-sized rink at the skating oval

Ryan O'Quinn says a rink in the unused space in the centre of the Halifax skating oval would make the game more accessible.

Ryan O'Quinn poses for a photo in the centre of the Halifax skating oval, where he's proposing an NHL-sized hockey rink.

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Ryan O'Quinn poses for a photo in the centre of the Halifax skating oval, where he's proposing an NHL-sized hockey rink.

Ryan O’Quinn has a dream: to make Canada’s national past time more accessible for Haligonians.

And he’s got a plan – and a place – to make it happen.

“We all understand that this is a big part of our cultural identity as a country, and to play shinny hockey, grassroots hockey, what do you need? Sticks and skates and gloves. That’s it,” O’Quinn said in an interview.

But with climate change, winters are getting warmer, so the days of heading to the pond are becoming fewer.

“If you can’t do that outside anymore and you gotta go play hockey in a rink, you gotta be fully suited up and you gotta get to the rink, and then right there is your barrier,” he said.

“So I personally have a dream of having a space where we can do that through the wintertime where anyone can go and play.”

O’Quinn believes the Halifax skating oval is the perfect spot.

“What better place than the completely unused space in the middle of the oval?” he said.

Before you think, ‘That’s not big enough:’ “Guess what? That’ll fit an NHL-sized hockey rink. I measured it.”

O’Quinn went beyond taking out the tape measure, though. He contacted the company that built the oval itself, and asked how much the rink of his dreams would set us back: $1.1 million.

It might seem like a lot of money, but O’Quinn, who works as a fundraiser, believes he could raise the cash without dipping into city coffers.

Plus, he sees revenue streams. With the addition of temporary bleachers surrounding the rink, the space could host big hockey games.

“We could actually host an NHL Winter Classic in the middle of the oval,” he said. “It would be amazing.”

In the summer, the Play On! ball hockey tournament could move from the streets to the rink, and the municipality could sell advertising on the boards.

O’Quinn said there’s already demand for hockey time at the oval; he and his friends have been playing on the ice there at night for years.

But it’s about more than O’Quinn and his buddies having a place to shoot the puck.

“I have this real deep dream that maybe some kid growing up two blocks away right now who can’t play the game can get a pair of skates over here and get a $20 stick off Kijiji or Canadian Tire and can learn how to play hockey,” he said.

O’Quinn hopes to have a plan in front of Halifax Regional Council in the next six months.

If you've got questions about the rink or want to get involved, contact Ryan O'Quinn at hockeyontheoval@gmail.com.

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