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