A backyard hockey rink in Red Deer is going viral — 20 years after it was built.
A photo of the large, year-round rink has been upvoted more than 100,000 times on Reddit.
Brothers Lane and Brady Sim, now adults, still have fond memories of playing there as kids.
“I’d come here after school and there would be four or five kids back here before even got home,” said Lane.
In the summer, kids would come to play road hockey and basketball, and when the temperature got cold enough, Lane and Brady’s father would flood the rink to form ice.
“There’s a million memories, and that’s probably the greatest thing that this rink could have given us,” said Brady.
The picture that went viral was taken in 2001. Lane said he was surprised when he heard of the social media buzz.
“I just seen [sic] a Reddit post, and all of a sudden, next thing you know, I got all my friends texting me,” said Lane.
“Next thing you know, my grandma is sharing it on Facebook, and it’s all over the place.”
However, Brady said he has read a lot of misinformation online, including that the rink is shared between two neighbouring backyards.
“One guy commented on Reddit and said… ‘I know both families and they’re both not nice,’ and I thought, ‘Well, you can’t really know both families because it’s not a combined back yard, so you clearly don’t know anything,” laughed Brady.
Another piece of misinformation the brothers have heard is that the sponsors on the boards paid for the rink.
“That, again, is not true,” said Brady.
“For the most part, these are just businesses associated with our family.”
Hockey has been an integral part of Lane and Brady’s lives. Their love of the sport blossomed due to their father.
“He’s a guy that loves hockey and loves to talk about his love of hockey,” said Brady.
“We owe whatever form of success we had or will have in this game to him.”
Hockey remains a big part of both the brothers’ lives. Lane played Junior B hockey in Fernie, British Columbia, before playing for the Red Deer Vipers. He’s now with the Red Deer Rustlers.
Brady received his Radio, Television, and Broadcast News diploma from SAIT in 2016 and has done play-by-play for the Vipers. He said hockey has fostered a closeness in his family.
“It’s absolutely impacted us. I think it’s brought our whole family closer,” said Brady.
“You seem to have people drifting apart, more and more, and that’s never happened to us. We’re very lucky in that sense, and I think hockey and this rink and what it symbolizes is a big part of that.”