I don't know whose backyard rink this is, but...um, wow. Pic from www.pulledmygroin.com

Hockey is at it’s purest, most true form when it’s played on ponds and in backyards. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a climate that allows for this special treat, but for those of us that did as kids, the memories are heavy in corny nostalgia.

I certainly know we weren’t skating on rinks like the one above, and that was just fine with me (though that would’ve been wicked).

There’s something honest about working for your fun that feels good, whether it’s building the rink, shoveling the snow, or chasing the puck far beyond the area you cleared, plodding in skates through snow to find the puck that someone fired wide. Why’d that guy raise it anyway?

The Haas family rink (Chicago)

The worst parts of playing in the great outdoors end up being the best parts: the frozen face and toes may suck for a little bit, but the exhilarating feeling after you start to warm up again is tough to replace. It’s like runner’s high, but cozier.

And on those rare days where it’s been cold enough to freeze everything solid, then it warms up and you have smooth ice and pleasant weather….there’s just nothing better.

Leading up to the Winter Classic, I’d like to honor the people who’ve taken the time and put in the effort to capture the thrill that is outdoor puck. Weather is warm all around the country these days, but it’s going to start to get chilly mighty quick.

Please submit images of the backyard rink you’ve created to backhandshelf@thescore.com, and we’d be proud to show the world (well, our readers anyway) your commitment to the great game of hockey.

For today, a little teaser:

Our current leader in the clubhouse for “most amazing backyard rink” (save for whoever built the one in the picture at the top of this post) is a father from Connecticut, who’s constructed this little beauty for his family.

How nice is that? What a way to spend your time after school.

Yours doesn’t have to live up to that – we just want to see the different surfaces that people around this continent (and maybe beyond, that’d be cool) have set up to enjoy hockey at its best.

Or maybe you just play hockey on a rink like the one below? That’d be pretty cool too – we’ll take pics of that as well.

(Stick-tap to Puck Daddy for the vid find and for sharing the PD reader comment: “I’m thinking dump and chase isn’t a viable strategy here.”)