The ice? No dice

There is now an ice rink in the middle of campus that many students might miss. I was not one of them, however. A few weeks ago, while walking between classes, I saw a big truck that had pulled up on the sidewalk and a man wielding a fire hose that was spraying water over a cleared area in the Duckworth Quadrangle.

At first I thought this was odd, but as the days passed and I walked in between classes, I noticed that the truck and the man with hose were there quite a bit. It didn’t take long before I realized that they were building an ice rink. After I came back from my Christmas vacation I noticed that the U of M now had lovely evergreens that seemed to sprout over the break, providing a more scenic view for those skating — I assume.

The one thing that excites me about Manitoba winters is the fact that we have outdoor ice. After September Long is over and the cottage has had her last dance with decently warm weather, I look forward to the freezing temperatures that bring outdoor ice.

I run a small recreation hockey league in the city and find myself constantly on outdoor ice, skating to my hearts content. Needless to say, the outdoor rink is very close to my heart. But even though I love skating and I love ice, I have found it hard to justify having an ice rink in the middle of the quad.

It just seems like an inconvenient place to skate. As you may know, it happens to get pretty cold in Winnipeg and the quad is a big circle of open land far from any building, therefore you must put on your skates outside and must freeze your fingers in the process. As Winnipeggers, we always brag to others about how we can brave the subzero temperatures, but face it, no one wants to freeze their fingers before even stepping foot on the ice.

Heather Laube, president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU), however, explained on the U of M’s website: “Students have really embraced the new location. It is great to see students take time in the evenings to come out for a skate.”

Laube also mentioned how UMSU was planning to possibly hold broomball or hockey tournaments on the ice. Now, here again, we come to the fact the ice sheet needs to be expanded to play a full version of either sport. But hey, if it is working, then go get ’em.

Opposite my pessimism, the ice rink has not done anybody any wrong, so why bash the idea? I could only imagine the expenses behind developing and maintaining a sheet of ice are relatively low, so no one is shedding a tear.

Initially, my logic on its own could not figure out why there was a sheet of ice in the quad; I had started to draw my own conclusions. I first figured that it was a deterrent for students who used the quad as a walking path. The signs had failed to keep people from cutting across the quad, then the gates that were placed had all been knocked over and once again failed, but a sheet of ice! Now that’s thinking.