Chris Porter didn't have access to a backyard rink when he was growing up so besides playing on the teams that he did, Porter would head to the outdoor rinks with his friends. Back when he was growing up, there was an outdoor rink at every school in Dauphin, which isn't the case these days.
So three years ago when his son Talon was getting into hockey, the family decided to build their own backyard rink so Talon had another outlet to lace up the skates and have some fun. The first year it took a little bit longer to get the rink ready in their backyard, but it's been smooth sailing for the past two winters.
"I really wanted my kids to grow up with that outdoor rink experience just like I did," said Porter.
Talon has two younger brothers, Jagger who is two while Kessel just turned one on December 26. Chris says Talon absolutely loves it and with a chuckle, he probably likes it just as much as his six-year-old son who plays with the Grand Plains Hawks squirts team.
So already with a backyard rink, the Porter family took things to the next level. Part of the basement was unfinished after the family added on and they got extra creative to fill up space. Chris wanted to condense everything and provide the kids with a place for sports and activities and about a month later, they have their own roller hockey rink that the kids can also play mini-sticks on.
So when the weather is too cold outside to put their skates on, the entire family stays inside and plays on their latest family creation in their basement.
And then on Christmas, the Porter's took things one step further as they gifted Talon, Jagger, and Kessel three individual lockers with their nameplates on each one. Although they may not be in a hockey rink with their families, Chris and his wife have certainly brought the full hockey experience to their three young sons, one of which just turned one less than a month ago.
"It all came together last spring when we were trying to find things to do inside," said Porter. "We're just trying to make the most of the situation. Our kids skate outside a few times a week and they play on the indoor rink like six times a week so everyone is loving it."
Backyard rinks have certainly brought families together this winter and when it comes to the Porter's, the hockey fun continues in the basement.