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Warm, wet weather spells early end to backyard hockey rink in St-Lazare

Click to play video: 'Warm weather shuts down Saint-Lazare dad’s backyard ice rink'
Warm weather shuts down Saint-Lazare dad’s backyard ice rink
WATCH ABOVE: Some Montrealers may be rejoicing the warm weather recently, but one Saint-Lazare dad is being forced to clear away the ice rink he creates in his backyard every year for neighbourhood kids to enjoy. Global's Billy Shields reports – Mar 6, 2017

For the last decade, Justin Lachapelle has been maintaining what could be termed a destination backyard hockey rink. He has blue-lines made with outdoor ribbon frozen into the ice, goal creases that are hand-painted and Canadiens logos cut from discarded flags.

But this winter has been cruel to Lachapelle’s rink — an abnormally warm and wet February caused him to hang up his skates about a month and a half earlier than normal.

“This has been a tough year,” he told Global News. The rain and warmth ruined the rink’s surface.

According to Environment Canada, the Montreal area received about 150 per cent more rainfall during the month of February than it normally does. Outdoor rinks near Montreal closed up early — municipalities like Dollard-des-Ormeaux announced back in February they were done for the season.

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Lachapelle has won awards for his rink, which he has steadily added to over the past decade. But with kids that are growing up and what he said are increasingly warm winters, he thinks this may already have been the last winter his rink will operate.

Justin Lachapelle’s backyard rink effectively closed up shop in mid-February. Billy Shields/Global News

“It’s been 10 or 11 years, and we’ve had fun,” he said. “But kids are getting older and I’m getting older — that mixed with the climate gets a little frustrating. “It’s a little sad, but, we had some good years.”

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