This week marks the final Gauntlet rink review. Hopefully spring will arrive soon and reviewing outdoor rinks will become impossible.
The rinks are reviewed according to four categories: quality of ice, amenities, clientele and overall experience.
Each outdoor rink will be given a score out of five Gauntlet pucks — five out of five being worthy of a Molson Canadian commercial and zero out of five is basically a pile of snow outside of a curling club.
Banff Trail Rink
Location: 2115 20 Ave NW, behind the Banff Trail Community Centre across from Branton Jr. High School.
Quality of ice: three out of five
The ice at Banff Trail’s community rink has held up fairly well considering the warm and sunny weather Calgary has seen this winter. One end had quite a few ruts and there were some bumps and divots throughout, sometimes causing pucks to bounce. That being said, there were no bare patches and overall the ice was pretty good.
Amenities: four out of five
There were several features that gave this rink an old-school feel that provided for a unique atmosphere. The boards were made of white wooden planks, now blackened with puck marks. The rink also had older-style square nets. There was a fence surrounding three quarters of the ice surface, one wooden bench and plenty of shovels — I counted nine. The rink’s lights shut off at 10 p.m. each night when it closes.
Clientele: two out of five
Aside from a volunteer dutifully clearing snow, I was the only person there to enjoy the sunny Saturday morning.
The rink is reserved for Banff Trail Community Association members Monday to Friday from 2–4 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and Sunday from 12–3 p.m.
Overall experience: three out of five
The Banff Trail Community Association has a great feel, decent ice and excellent amenities. While having the whole rink to oneself can be nice, it did take something away from the community ambiance one expects at an outdoor rink.
The ice was good in the morning but was starting to deteriorate a little in the early afternoon. If one is looking to go for a skate, it’s best to go in the morning, evening or on a cold day.