Manual zamboni, suspended staircase: Sask. rink goes viral for delightful history

Click to play video: 'Players descend stairs at Lang’s hockey rink to skate on some of Sask.’s oldest ice'
Players descend stairs at Lang’s hockey rink to skate on some of Sask.’s oldest ice
Hockey players in Lang, Sask. entered the local rink in a one-of-a-kind way on Thursday. The rink's fire-escape-looking entrance caught the world's attention when it was shared on social media earlier this week, with some comparing it to a "drawbridge." – Feb 2, 2023

The Lang Rink in Lang, Sask., built in 1927, is one of the province’s oldest rinks and is full of character and memories.

“These old rinks like this, each one of them is special,” said Milestone Selects hockey coach Beau Bechard. “The smell, the food – they all have different characteristics to make them special, and I’ve noticed the kids love coming to the old rinks.”

He said he coaches his daughter, and he loves watching her and her teammates play on the same ice he played on 30 years ago.

“Thinking back to all the memories I had growing up and then her getting to experience this is pretty cool.”

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“It’s kind of cold,” said young Ryder Moon, who was at the Lang rink on Wednesday to play hockey.

Despite the temperature, Moon said that the Lang rink is one of her favourite rinks to play in.

“I like playing in these old barns.”

Moon, a centre for Milestone hockey said both her father and her uncle played at the Lang rink when they were young.

“It’s part of our heritage and how we grew up,” said Bechard, adding that for coaches, booking ice time is easier at rinks like the one in Lang than in the cities.

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Saskatchewan’s NDP leader Carla Beck said she grew up across from the rink in Lang and figure skated there when she was young.

“This was not only our rink, but it was our recreation centre.

“It’s known for being a cold rink. It’s known for being a loud rink when we had hockey games here. It’s a rink that people always supported no matter what was going on here.”

The Lang rink is full of character that can’t be found anywhere else in Saskatchewan.

A video of the Lang rink ladder went viral on Facebook, showing how the players make their way from the dressing room to the ice down a suspended staircase.

“If it wasn’t this rink that people had a memory about, it was another one in Saskatchewan,” Beck said after reading the comments on the video.

The rink also features a one-hand manual push Zamboni, which is followed by volunteers with shovels to throw the excess snow out the rink window.

“It was a right of passage when you were finally old enough and were asked to push the scrapers on the ice,” said Beck. “It was a thing of precision.”

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Not to be left out, everyone in the rink had something to say about the rink’s iconic burgers sold at the concession.

“Oh, they are right up there,” said Bechard, claiming other rinks can’t compare.

Beck said that her mother was preparing caramelized onions for the burgers well before the game on Wednesday to serve to the fans.

“It takes that volunteer and support and everyone chipping in to make it work.

“It’s more than a building,” Beck said. “It’s where people learn independence, the first time you go down those stairs by yourself, the first time you get to scrape the ice.”

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