Over the winter months, the Gauntlet will have a section that reviews various outdoor rinks in Calgary. The rinks will be reviewed according to four categories: quality of ice, amenities, clientele and overall experience.
Each outdoor rink will be given a score out of five Gauntlet pucks — five out of five being worthy of a Molson Canadian commercial and zero out of five is basically a pile of snow outside of a curling club.
Varsity Community Rink
Location: Behind the Varsity Community Association, 4303 Varsity Dr. N.W.
Quality of Ice: three out of five.
The ice at Varsity’s community rink was very good. There was one small hole and slightly soft, slushy ice along the boards on one side due to the sunny Chinook day. Aside from those blemishes, the ice was smooth, relatively thick and very well maintained.
Amenities: four out of five.
The rink had impressive amenities, including full boards, fences behind the goal areas and even a net to keep pucks away from a nearby playground. There were also plastic, arena-style benches for lacing up skates and lights that are shut off at 10 p.m. each night. The rink also had a couple of shovels — a key for any outdoor rink. Adjacent to the main rink there is also a small second ice surface for kids.
Clientele: three out of five.
Only a few people were out in the late afternoon on Friday, but the patrons included the rarely seen outdoor rink goaltender as well as a skater bold enough to wear an Edmonton Oilers jersey. The rink is intended for Varsity community residents and their guests with weekdays from 10:00–11:00 a.m, 2:30–4:00 p.m. and weekends from 12:00–2:00 p.m. being reserved for family skating —no sticks allowed. Tuesdays and Thursday nights from 6:30—8:30 are reserved for registered Varsity shinny players.
Overall experience: four out of five.
The Varsity rink has a lot of things that make it one of the best of the roughly 40 outdoor ice surfaces in Calgary. With all the amenities a city rink needs as well as an ice surface that has clearly had a lot of work put into it, the Varsity Community Association rink makes for a great choice for those looking to shoot around a puck or play some shinny.