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Steele Center isn’t your average backyard hockey rink

A Leduc man has built a hockey rink in his backyard, something he has done for the past six years. Erron Steele just put the finishing touches on his rink Wednesday night, and it’s much more than just your average backyard rink.

Six years ago “Steele Center” was simply a flooded portion of Erron’s backyard, with an Oilers flag at centre ice.

“My kids thought that was great,” said Erron.

Each year the father of two added a few more details to the rink including lines on the ice and boards. Now, he even has a Team Canada logo at centre ice, in honour of the world junior team, which he constructed himself out of tissue paper.

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“My wife bugs me, that’s what I do, I kind of take things overboard sometimes,” Erron laughed.

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“This is a lot bigger than I thought my husband would ever go,” added Erron’s wife Christa Steele.

Year after year, the Steele’s backyard turns into a community hangout, with kids from all over the neighbourhood coming to play, day in and day out.

“To watch the kids, and listen to them talk as they’re getting ready and gossip, and having my girlfriends come with their kids, it’s such a community thing. It’s such a community event every time everybody comes over,” said Christa.

Construction on the rink takes months, beginning in early November. Countless hours are spent clearing snow from the backyard, assembling the boards and flooding the rink to make the perfect ice surface. But, the man who has had a lifelong passion for hockey does it for so much more than just the love of the game.

“I never had a backyard rink growing up as a kid so, I always kind of wanted to make one for my kids,” Erron said, “The kids have learned how to skate on it and my kids are out there playing all the time so, it’s invaluable. It’s definitely worth it.”

“He just wanted my kids to experience the same passion that he has,” added Christa.

The couple’s children absolutely love the rink, and appreciate all the time and effort their dad puts into it every winter.

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“I think it’s pretty awesome that we have a rink,” said Erron’s 9-year-old son Niklis. “All of my friends can have fun with me.”

“He just likes to see us happy and see other kids enjoy something that he built,” added Erron’s 12-year-old daughter Anika, “I hated skating when I was little, but then once we got this up I went out there all the time.”

But, how will Erron ever top this year’s rink?

“I have no idea,” he laughed.

For now, he says he’s happy watching his kids and their friends play the game he loves so much.

With files from Ross Neitz.

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