Matt Marzillo, Illinois YardRink Owner Since 2022

Living just outside Chicago in the suburbs, one might assume we are a hockey family with a backyard rink. Surprisingly, this is our first year attempting an outdoor rink, and I knew the DIY route wasn’t for me. That’s when I discovered YarkRink, which allowed me to give my son the backyard hockey rink of his dreams. 

Joining the Backyard Hockey Club

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My seven-year-old son is a passionate hockey player, dedicated to the sport. I had always toyed with the idea of having a backyard hockey rink but never took the plunge. One night at one of my son’s tournaments, I asked some of my fellow hockey dads if they were planning to set up an outdoor rink. As it turned out, I was the only dad who didn’t have one, and that needed to change. 

After convincing myself a backyard rink was a necessity, I explored different options. As a newbie in the backyard rink world, building one from scratch using plywood seemed overwhelming. I wanted a simpler solution, which is how I found YardRink. Although it may have been a slightly impulsive decision, it seemed like the perfect choice for me. I purchased the standard-size rink, confident that I wouldn't regret it because my son always seized any opportunity to skate. 

However, my wife had her doubts; she didn’t believe I could set up the rink on my own. Secretly, I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of having someone witness my lack of handyman skills. Despite encountering a few challenges during the setup process, the company’s customer service proved to be exceptionally kind and helpful. Together, we figured out a path forward and soon my YardRink was up and running. 

Future Hockey Star in the Making 

Once the rink was set up, my son couldn't have been happier. There were countless hours when he would skate around, completely lost in the moment. He wasn’t the only one enjoying the rink – I would join him on the ice, as would my nine-year-old daughter. We have multiple wireless speakers around the house, so one day my son grabbed a speaker and put it on top of a goal in the rink. He stayed out there for hours listening to music and skating around. Skating at your own house, listening to music and illuminated by the rink lights as darkness falls, creates a remarkable atmosphere. I’m looking forward to making our backyard setup even better next year, hosting outdoor parties, and inviting people over to enjoy the rink.  

As a father, witnessing my son’s dedication to improving his hockey skills on the ice brings me great joy. The more time he spends on the rink, the more confidence grows, especially at such a young age. The YardRink’s outer tarp is a fantastic feature as it allows puck play along the boards, simulating a real rink experience. However, whenever anyone uses the rink, I always remind them to exercise caution with their sharp skates when entering or exiting. 

Looking Forward to Next Season

This year was a valuable learning experience for me. To make next season even smoother, I plan on setting up the rink earlier, maybe around Thanksgiving. This way, the ground won’t be frozen and the rink will be ready to freeze at the first sign of colder weather. Despite not having the opportunity to utilize our new backyard rink as often as we had hoped (thanks to one of the warmest winters in recent memory), we’re excited to set it up again next year. More importantly, I am excited to witness my son’s deepening love for this sport and see him have endless fun on the YardRink for winters to come. 

Written by YardRink Owner

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