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The beauty of shinny

The beauty of shinny


Photographer Brant Slomovic has an unmatched eye for capturing the joy and beauty of a game of shinny hockey on a frosty winter day. Listen as he tells Robert about his art, The Shinny Project, and the cultural importance of the outdoor rink. Then, minor hockey coach and backyard rinkmaker Ian Williams describes how playing on outdoor rinks helps kids develop their hockey skills, and reflects on his own childhood shinny games. This episode also contains an audio postcard from the 100th anniversary outdoor game between Ottawa and Montreal, with Robert chatting shinny with friend Pierre Leblanc in the stands during the first intermission. Links:,,
Rink Science

Rink Science


In this episode, geographer Colin Robertson describes how data about backyard skating rinks collected through his RinkWatch project can help environmental scientists better understand the future impacts of climate change. Expert rinkmaker Michael Berube gives listeners the inside scoop on how to build the perfect backyard rink; he should know, his award-winning backyard rink attracts all the kids in his Miramichi neighbourhood. Michael also explains the hockey skills kids master skating on an outdoor rink. Chemistry professor Stephen MacNeil joins the podcast to share his views on backyard rinks, science education, and what he's thinking about when he's outside flooding on a minus-ten night. Links:,,
Rinks of hope

Rinks of hope


In this episode, Robert interviews three parents whose families face unique challenges, and learns how a backyard rink has played an important role in helping them meet those challenges. If this episode doesn't grab at your heartstrings, you're as cold and hard inside as a well-made rink in mid-January. In the first interview, Kris Jackson of Fort McMurray, Alberta, describes how his family lost their home and award-winning backyard rink in the 2016 wildfire that destroyed much of the town, and how his family and community have been rebuilding and moving forward. Next, Todd Churchill describes how he built his stunning NHL-quality backyard rink in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, to raise money for children's charities, inspired by his own son (the photo accompanying this episode is of Todd's rink). Finally, Phil Schimke of Edina, Minnesota describes the backyard rink he built so that neigbourhood kids can skate and hang out with his son who, because of a genetic disorder, is unable to skate himself. Links:,,,,
Art, rinks, and family

Art, rinks, and family


In this episode, California-based, Winnipeg-born artist, sculptor, and professor Mia Feuer describes two of her amazing rink-inspired art installations. First up is 'The Decline of Outdoor Skate-ability', a giant 3D graph built in a Montreal park from hockey sticks, skates, and automobile taillights (it's the cover image for this episode). Then she describes a black rink she built inside The Corcoran Galley of Art in Washington DC, where visitors were invited to skate on a surface made of crude oil instead of ice. Also featured in this episode is graphic artist Shelley Jackson who describes how her backyard rink helps her balance career and busy family life in rural Grey County, Ontario. The image on the Rinktalk home page is one of Shelley's beautiful photos. Links:,,,
In this episode, Robert interviews musician, filmmaker and author Pete McCormack about his novel 'Understanding Ken', published nearly 20 years ago. Set in 1970s British Columbia, the book describes the travails of a boy coming to terms with his parents' messy divorce and Ken Dryden's unexpected decision to quit playing goal for the Montreal Canadiens and return to law school. All the while, the boy struggles to build a backyard rink that simply will not freeze. McCormack keeps us in stitches in this podcast as he describes his inspiration for the novel, his own hockey history, and his lifelong love of the game. In the second interview, award winning rink maker Jean-Francois Ouimet discusses the cultural importance of outdoor skating to Montrealers, and shares tips on how to get a perfect sheet of ice on your home rink this winter.
Interviews about backyard rinks, outdoor skating, and shinny hockey. First, author, musician and CBC personality Grant Lawrence describes the backyard rink of dreams he built during the chilly Vancouver winter of 2016-17. He also discusses hockey bullying and his book 'The Lonely End of the Rink'. The second interview features Chuck Temple, illustrator of the best-selling children's book series Brady Brady, discussing how he captures in art a child's thrill of skating on a backyard rink. Hosted by Robert McLeman, geography professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and co-founder of the RinkWatch citizen science project. Links:,,,
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