English stories

Volunteering for the Love of Skating

le mercredi 07 février 2024
Modifié à
Par Valérie Lessard


Keith Wilson and Brian Hazek volunteer their time to take care of the Saint-Denis skating rink (Photo: Courtesy)

Young and old alike can skate at the Saint-Denis rink in Châteauguay thanks to the efforts of Brian Hazek, a Châteauguay resident who, along with his friend Keith Wilson and other volunteers, has been running the rink on a voluntary basis for a number of years. Although Mother Nature often makes life difficult for him, he continues to volunteer his time for the love of ice sports.

Translation Amanda Bennett

As Brian Hazek himself says, his passion for hockey is "in his blood". "I'd find it weird if there wasn't a rink in front of our house like there was when I was a kid," he explained in an interview. As proof, he says he bought his house, among other things, because he knew there was an ice rink in the park opposite his house.

It was only afterwards that he found out that the ice was maintained by volunteers and not by the town. "When the man who looked after it moved away a few years ago, I took over," he explained.

The city provides the boards and a cabin for storing equipment and keeping skates warm. Volunteers take care of the ice. Unfortunately, the rink was not open again this season. The weather has taken its toll, and Mr. Hazek is also facing other challenges. "Unlike city employees, I can't stay up all night watering. I have to get up at five o'clock to go to work. So I water in the evening around 10 o'clock," he says. To make matters worse, the hydrant he normally uses broke recently. He has to wait for it to be repaired and for the weather to improve before he can water again.

Despite this, he is still hopeful of opening his rink in the next few weeks.  "Usually, the best weather is at the end of January and the beginning of February. That's when it's coldest and I always try to keep it open until the children's spring break," said the father of two.