From fair­way to frozen play

Rod­ney Reid of Shearstown ad­just­ing well to life on the ice

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TO­BIAS RO­MA­NIUK SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­PASS

“I went from cut­ting grass to cut­ting ice,” says Rod­ney Reid, stand­ing out­side the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on a re­cent balmy Fri­day af­ter­noon as he takes a break from pick­ing up lit­ter in the park­ing lot.

The Bay Roberts man spent 20 years car­ing for the greens and fair­ways of Pippy Park be­fore tak­ing a main­te­nance job at the busy arena, where he’s been for about two months.

“It was a big de­ci­sion, but I ended up go­ing here. I’m sick of the driv­ing, to be hon­est with you,” he says.

That drive took him from Shearstown to St. John’s ev­ery morn­ing, leav­ing at 4:30 a.m. each day for the sea­sonal job. He liked the work, but now he’s only a few min­utes away from home. “You can’t beat that,” he notes. In some ways, the two jobs aren’t so dif­fer­ent. He’s still work­ing to cre­ate the op­ti­mal play­ing sur­face for sport, and he still rides a ma­chine to get the job done. Apart from the size, there isn’t too much of a dif­fer­ence be­tween lawn mow­ers and an ice resur­facer, ac­cord­ing to Reid.

“You just keep you r lines straight and you’re OK,” he said. “In re­gards to driv­ing, there’s not much to it.”

Mak­ing ice come alive

When he works the early shift, Reid walks through the arena door at 6 a. m., un­locks ev­ery­thing, and gives the ice its first f lood of the day. From then on he’s kept busy with en­sur­ing the place l ooks g ood a n d t i dy, whether it’s clean­ing up the park­ing lot or the dress­ing rooms or per­fect­ing his ice main­te­nance tech­niques.

In the same way he learned what it takes to cre­ate the per­fect green, Reid has quickly learned how to cre­ate an op­ti­mal ice sur­face. It helps that the ma­chine he uses is rel­a­tively new, and has a laser-as­sisted sur­face mea­sur­ing tool to keep the ice sur­face flat. But there’s noth­ing he can do about the weather, and it can some­times im­pact the ice qual­ity, he said.

“Oh yeah, I can tell when the ice is bad, no prob­lem,” he said, re­fer­ring to re­cent mild weather that af­fected the ice sur­face.

But when the weather co-op­er­ates, he’s had arena users tell him how pleased they are with the ice sur­face.

Be­tween the lit­tle kids push­ing red-tubed train­ing sup­ports, ju­nior hockey play­ers, fig­ure skaters, and groups of peo­ple rent­ing the ice, there’s al­ways some­thing on the go, and it makes for a quick-paced day for Reid.

“The days fly, there’s al­ways some­thing doin’,” he said. And he loves it.

Al­though he ad­mits to hav­ing some doubts about his de­ci­sion to switch jobs, Reid’s happy he made the switch.

“I think if I never took the job I’d be kick­ing my­self in the bum,” he says with smile.

to­bias.ro­ma­niuk@gmail.com

Photo by To­bias Ro­ma­niuk/spe­cial to The Com­pass

Rod­ney Reid spent 20 years look­ing af­ter the Pippy Park greens and fair­ways be­fore tak­ing a seat be­hind the wheel of the ice resur­facer at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts, where he now works.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.