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RinkTalk Podcast

A Sports, Recreation and Outdoor podcast
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Interviews with interesting people about backyard rinks, outdoor skating, shinny hockey, and other winter activities on ice. Topics include art, literature, music, science, and tips for making a perfect outdoor rink. Hosted by Robert McLeman, geography professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and co-founder of the RinkWatch citizen science project.


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Recent Episodes

The beauty of shinny
Photographer Brant Slomovic has an unmatched eye for capturing the joy and beauty of a game of shinny hockey on a frosty winter day. Listen as he tells Robert about his art, The Shinny Project, and the cultural importance of the outdoor rink. Then, minor hockey coach and backyard rinkmaker Ian Williams describes how playing on outdoor rinks helps kids develop their hockey skills, and reflects on his own childhood shinny games. This episode also contains an audio postcard from the 100th anniversary outdoor game between Ottawa and Montreal, with Robert chatting shinny with friend Pierre Leblanc in the stands during the first intermission. Links: www.brantslomovic.com, www.rinkwatch.org, reimerwattsmusic.com
Rink Science
In this episode, geographer Colin Robertson describes how data about backyard skating rinks collected through his RinkWatch project can help environmental scientists better understand the future impacts of climate change. Expert rinkmaker Michael Berube gives listeners the inside scoop on how to build the perfect backyard rink; he should know, his award-winning backyard rink attracts all the kids in his Miramichi neighbourhood. Michael also explains the hockey skills kids master skating on an outdoor rink. Chemistry professor Stephen MacNeil joins the podcast to share his views on backyard rinks, science education, and what he's thinking about when he's outside flooding on a minus-ten night. Links: www.rinkwatch.org, reimerwattsmusic.com, thespatiallab.org
Rinks of hope
In this episode, Robert interviews three parents whose families face unique challenges, and learns how a backyard rink has played an important role in helping them meet those challenges. If this episode doesn't grab at your heartstrings, you're as cold and hard inside as a well-made rink in mid-January. In the first interview, Kris Jackson of Fort McMurray, Alberta, describes how his family lost their home and award-winning backyard rink in the 2016 wildfire that destroyed much of the town, and how his family and community have been rebuilding and moving forward. Next, Todd Churchill describes how he built his stunning NHL-quality backyard rink in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, to raise money for children's charities, inspired by his own son (the photo accompanying this episode is of Todd's rink). Finally, Phil Schimke of Edina, Minnesota describes the backyard rink he built so that neigbourhood kids can skate and hang out with his son who, because of a genetic disorder, is unable to skate himself. Links: www.reasonfortherink.com, www.fragilex.org, www.rinkwatch.org, reimerwattsmusic.com, www.wbir.com/article/news/local/fathers-ice-rink-fills-backyard-and-a-purpose/412758381
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Podcast Details
Nov 10th, 2017
Latest Episode
Dec 22nd, 2017
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
43 minutes

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