“Any time I go to a garage sale and see a pair,” he said, “I pick them up.”
Rule’s wife, Alisha, who said she stays inside and makes snacks and hot chocolate for the players, said her husband serves as a “human Zamboni,” shoveling the large pond each weekend to prepare for games. Rule said it takes about an hour to clear the pond, not taking into account the time it takes if the pond has to be flooded to create a smooth surface. Rule said a group of the players often helps him clear it off.
Rule’s son Griffin, 18, is one of the hockey lovers who participate in the weekly games.
“It’s nice that my son can play on a regulation-size rink,” Rule said.
According to NHL’s website, the dimensions of an “official” NHL rink are 200-foot-by-85-foot, meaning Rule’s “rink” is actually bigger. Most international hockey, including that of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is played on a 200-foot-by-100-foot ice surface.
Todd Foreman is one of the regular players at Rule’s pond. Foreman, of Oneonta, said it means a lot to him that Rule hosts the ice hockey games because he gets to meet and skate with people he would not have known otherwise.
“Carl has a broad network of friends,” Foreman said. “It is very generous of him to make his pond available to them.”
Foreman said he takes care of the 100-foot-by-40-foot ice skating rink in Fortin Park. He said the park’s rink is open from dawn until 10 p.m. and is ideal for families, children and recreational open-skate, but not for a hockey game.
“It’s a nice place to learn how to skate or improve,” he said. “We can play three against three at the Fortin Park rink, but it is too small for an actual game.”