Free time during quarantine brought about numerous new projects for those at home. Some organized cluttered closets and others took up furniture restoration hobbies. But innovative Valparaiso resident Jeremy Trimble took things a step further and constructed an ice rink in his backyard for the whole neighborhood to enjoy.
The thought crossed Trimble's mind when he recalled his and his son’s passion for the sport of hockey.
“I grew up playing pond hockey and my seven-year-old son plays hockey in the Valparaiso Parks Department league,” Trimble said.
With no skating facilities open, it left Trimble and his son with little to no options for a place to train during a time when people were zeroing in on their hobbies. This is when the light bulb went off in Trimble's head.
“Ice time has been short because of the pandemic, and we thought this would be a great way for kids in the league and newbies to get outside during the winter.”
Trimble thought correctly as the neighborhood skating rink was a huge success, attracting neighbors of all ages and starting a conversation within the residential area.
The Trimble family moved into their Lake Louise home in Shorewood Forest last November. With the area and opportunity to bring the community together during the cold months, Trimble said he aimed to do just that. It was a perfect year to do so as well; this past year, Lake Louise was at one of its most frozen states yet. Perfectly enough, this made for a great foundation for Trimble's idea.
The ice, lighting tower, and homemade Zamboni have made the neighborhood ice rink not-so amateur, creating a space that feels as official as possible. The combination of all of its elements makes the rink feel like it's more than just a hang-out spot.
To spread the word about the crafted facility, Trimble created the “Shorewood Ice Hockey” Facebook group to announce the dates of weekend pick-up games. Neighbors were very excited to have this fun addition in their backyards and were quick to join in on the fun.
Trimble even noted how many friends in the area were surprised to learn that it was him who had created this DIY project, making him the innovator on the ice.
“I’ve met people in the neighborhood, and they would bring up that ‘someone’ built a hockey rink and it was amazing. When I told them that it was actually me, they couldn’t believe it,” said Trimble.
Trimble noted that this would not be possible if it was not for generous community members lending a helping hand. With many residents working remotely, attending school online, and completing tasks virtually, neighbors' extra time was spent contributing to this Shorewood Forest project. They are already looking forward to next season, even if next winter might not be the same as people make their way back to work and in-person school.
“Neighbors, hockey coaches, and kids all pitched in to help get it ready and maintain it. Everyone is already talking about next year and how we could make it better,” Trimble said.
Trimble hopes to invite even more residents of Shorewood Forest and the greater community to the ice rink in the coming years, assuming Mother Nature offers the proper weather for it!