Concordia Gets a New Pond

New Student-Initiated Outdoor Skating Rink at Loyola to Officially Open

  • Concordia students and staff can now enjoy an outdoor skating rink in their own backyard. Photo Matt Garies

Back in mid-October, Krzysztof Kmiecik had a vision.

The Applied Human Sciences student specializing in leisure sciences and co-president of the Applied Human Sciences Student Association wanted to bring students together for a common activity: skating on an outdoor rink. It doesn’t get more Canadian than that.

“I wanted to bring the Concordia University students together through commonalities in recreational activities,” said Kmiecik. “[It] also help build a sense of community and belonging amongst students and staff.”

Kmiecik first proposed the idea of building an outdoor rink to his professors, who suggested he speak to Arts and Science Federation of Associations president Paul Jerajian. Jerajian in turn told Kmiecik to speak with Sean Nolan, VP Social of ASFA.

Nolan wanted to have an outdoor hockey tournament but realized there wouldn’t be enough participation and so he joined Kmiecik’s cause.

Right from the beginning Kmiecik knew his idea was going to be well received, as it would benefit both the Concordia student body and the university as a whole.

The only trick was to get funding, something he got help for from ASFA and the Concordia Student Union. He also got a helping hand from Dean of Students Andrew Woodall, who provided a donation of his own to the project.

“He is the [one] who spearheaded this entire project,” said Crystal Harrison, the CSU’s VP Loyola, of Kmiecik. “He reached out to everyone from the Dean of Students to Recreation and Athletics to Residence to Facilities Management to Security to Concordia Communications to ASFA and to us [at the CSU].”

It’s a project that officially got started this January. The materials were all ordered on Jan. 13, and construction got officially under way Jan. 20 when volunteers, members of Facilities Management, Concordia Stingers fan group SWARM, the Recreation and Athletics Department and even a few Stingers took part in making Concordia its very own pond in its backyard.

“The goal of the rink is to create more of a buzz around the Loyola complex,” said Stingers defenceman Youssef Kabbaj. “It also helps to give a private outdoor rink to Concordia students [and staff] on which to relax before or after classes.”

With the recent temperature fluctuations, the actual construction of the rink hasn’t been the easiest of tasks, especially for Kmiecik, who was there every single day seeing his idea come to life.

“The weather hasn’t always been kind to us,” said Kmiecik. “But really, day in and day out I’ve been very fortunate to have some of the very best volunteers out there.

“Last Tuesday I had [men’s hockey coach] Kevin Figsby and a bunch of the hockey players come out and help with garnering all the materials, loading and unloading the truck and setting up the boards,” he said.

With the rink being able to hold 50 to 60 people at a given time, it’s sure to attract attention from students as well as faculty.

“It was really cool to have everyone come together on a Loyola project,” said SWARM VP Communications Matt Garies. “All the students can enjoy it and that’s great.”

With the grand opening just days away, Kmiecik is excited to see his project come to life, as are those who helped make it possible.

“An awesome aspect of this project is its capacity to be re-implemented in the years to come,” said Harrison. “Hopefully the outdoor skating rink will become a staple at Loyola.”

The rink itself, found in the football field’s end zone measures 60-by-120 feet and will open to the public this Friday, Feb. 7 at 2:30 p.m. CJLO will be on hand to DJ the event, and free snacks, such as maple taffy and coffee will be made available for those in attendance.

Students can use the rink during the week between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and can also reserve it by contacting Kmiecik at least a week in advance at kmiecik.krzysiek@gmail.com.

Kmiecik also urges those with a bit of spare time this Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to come by, grab a shovel and help out. Volunteers are also welcome to stop by anytime and help supervise skaters or lend a hand in teaching those who are hitting the ice for the first time.

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