‘I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up on these rinks’

Vol­un­teer Dal­ton Haz­zard, 92, may not skate but he’s main­tained ice since 1981

North Bay Nugget - - FRONT PAGE - Jen­nifer Hamil­ton-mc­cha­rles

Dal­ton Haz­zard has been help­ing take care of North Bay’s out­door rinks since 1981 and the 92-yearold has no plans of putting away the snow­blower just yet.

“I love it,” he says while at the Kerr ice rink, lo­cated on River­bend Road. “I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up on these rinks, but it keeps them busy, out of trou­ble and off the streets, so that is why I keep do­ing it.”

Haz­zard, whose also known as the mayor of Nipiss­ing Junc­tion, started tak­ing care of the Kerr rink in 1981. He then found him­self vol­un­teer­ing at Massey rink, as well.

“I only laced up a pair of skates once in my life when I was nine years old. I wanted to skate on the Lavase River. I did and then that was it. Didn’t want to do it again,” he laughs.

Haz­zard has spent thou­sands of hours the past 38 years en­su­ing the rink is in good con­di­tion for those who love hockey and ice skat­ing.

With a hockey puck in one pocket and Werther’s Orig­i­nal hard can­dies in an­other, Haz­zard, says vol­un­teers do it for one sim­ple rea­son – for the kids in the com­mu­nity.

While most peo­ple hi­ber­nate in -25C tem­per­a­tures, vol­un­teers like Haz­zard are on the rink.

He’s often seen wear­ing his rub­ber boots and win­ter gloves, blow­ing the snow off the rink and flood­ing the ice.

“When it’s cold and clear, it’s a good time to flood,” Haz­zard says. “If you flood in any­thing warmer than -15C the ice could crack.”

Steve Vib­ert has learned the ropes from Haz­zard. He’s taken over vol­un­teer­ing at Kerr.

“I just live across the bridge. I moved there in 2005 and ev­ery morn­ing in the win­ter I would see this guy scrap­ing the rink and tak­ing care of it all by him­self,” he re­calls.

“It was Dal­ton. I gave him a hand one morn­ing and he showed me how to take care of a rink prop­erly.”

Haz­zard even­tu­ally handed over the reins at Kerr and moved over to Massey.

Vib­ert jokes that one piece of ad­vice he al­ways re­mem­bers from Haz­zard is how to flood – the right way.

Often times, Vib­ert says, peo­ple grab the hose and sim­ply turn on the wa­ter hit­ting the sides of the boards.

“Ice builds up along the boards. If you spray the wa­ter in the mid­dle and let it roll out to the boards, you will get a nice smooth sur­face.” The tip seems to have paid off. The two vol­un­teers are happy with this year’s rink con­di­tions.

Ten to 40 kids are en­joy­ing the Kerr and Massey rinks at any time of the day.

“Af­ter school is the busiest,” Vib­ert says. “I can hear pucks bang­ing off the boards at 10 p.m. Once the noise stops, I usu­ally go out and freshen up the ice.”

Jen­nifer Hamil­ton-mc­cha­rles /The Nugget

Dal­ton Haz­zard and Steve Vib­ert are two of the vol­un­teers who take care of the city's 11 out­door rinks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.