Less is more for Brian Boulay.

Boulay built an ice rink on his front yard in Minot for his then 2-year-old son to play hockey. 

Conner Boulay is now 5 and dad finally has the recipe for good ice down pat.

“It took one-and-a-half years to figure out the chemistry to make good ice,” Boulay said. “I would put down 400 to 500 gallons of water and the ice was terrible. Now I put 45 to 50 down and the ice is great.”

Boulay grew up playing hockey. He played four years for the powerhouse St. Dom’s Saints, helping them to a high school state championship in 1994.

He stills plays in a men’s league. His wife, Kristin, plays in a women’s league and Conner plays for the Twin Cities Titans Mini-Mites, a team coached by none other than his father. 

Conner started skating when he was 2 years old and, like many up and comers, Conner wanted a hockey stick in hand while he skated. Sticks are not allowed during open skate at local public rinks, so Boulay built his own rink. He also added a warming hut, lights and a fire pit.

“We do a lot of night skating,” said Boulay, who specializes in fixing foreign cars. “I have a very patient wife,” he said. 

“He was working on it all the time the first couple of years,” said Kristin Boulay, a graduate of Leavitt Area High School in Turner. “Then he would come inside and start Googling what was going wrong.”

Boulay kept getting shale ice, a layer of ice on top of ice that would break into pieces. 

He built an ice resurfacer, more commonly known as a Zamboni, out of PVC pipe and a lawn mower and his problem was solved. 

“We have been skating since before Thanksgiving,” Boulay said, something he attributes to the cold winter Maine has had this year. 

“Last year, we did not get on the ice until Jan. 1. This year, we have been lucky,” he said.

Conner comes and goes throughout the day. “If he could be out here three times a day, he would,” said Kristin, who makes popcorn, hot dogs and hot chocolate for her son and his friends from inside the rink’s warming hut. 

“This is about having dad-and-son time,” Brian Boulay said. “We will come down here, sit on the boards and talk about our day. Conner likes to play with his friends, but he tells me he likes when it’s him and I playing the best,” the proud dad said. 

“We bond a lot” playing on the rink, Boulay said. “This makes us close.”


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