ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Frigid temperatures like we’ll be facing this weekend will not deter a Rockford neighborhood from gathering outside and embracing winter in West Michigan.
Nothing brings the neighborhood out like a good old hockey game, but Mother Nature is in charge of the neighborhood frozen pond rink. Some neighborhood parents decided to get a little innovative because after school and on the weekend, their frozen pond is the place to be.
“We’re out every weekend. I’m kind of the grounds keeper. I snow blow it two or three times a week, keep it smooth for the kids,” Chad Morrow said.
But the pond will only get as smooth as Mother Nature will allow.
“It’s always been a little bumpy,” Nick Friedt admits.
The bumpy problem had the dads of the neighborhood looking for a solution.
“We’ve tried a few things and it doesn’t always work,” Friedt said.
Luckily, these dads don’t give up that easily. They turned to YouTube and realized where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“The internet is a beautiful thing… We saw a whole bunch of different designs, and we came together and said, ‘You know what, we can pull together all of these different designs together and come up with our own version that works perfect for the resources we have here’,” Friedt said.
We know them as Zambonis — but the technical name is ice resurfacer. And that’s what Morrow, Friedt and the rest of the dads have for their backyard pond.
“Just like a heavy-duty cart from Harbor Freight and wood and PVC pipe that was laying around the house,” Friedt said.
They also use an old beach towel from Friedt’s days studying abroad in Australia.
An immersion heater heats the water just enough to make playing hockey and skating smooth sailing for the neighborhood.
“I thought that’s an amazing idea. How did we never think of that?… I get to be with my friends like all weekend, it’s so fun,” 11-year-old Grace Morrow said.
The adults are getting in on the action, too.
“We got the firepit set up here, we’ll have some beverages, hot chocolate and then people just come out and have a good time all weekend long. I’m glad it’s in my backyard,” Chad Morrow said.