Fort McMurray father “Great Canadian Hoser” title

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Avid ice-skater Luke, 6, enjoys his outdoor family rink built by his father Kris Jackson. The local family man received national recognition and title for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Hoser. Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Avid ice-skater Luke, 6, enjoys his outdoor family rink built by his father Kris Jackson. The local family man received national recognition and title for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Hoser. Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

A local dad was caught by surprise after his backyard rink received national recognition for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Hoser event and awarded him a $1,000 Canadian Tire gift card to purchase ‘hoses for life’.

“I’m pretty honoured to be awarded,” said Kris Jackson, 42, at his Beacon Hill home on February 19. “This is the house I grew up in. Being in Fort McMurray for 39 years, my dad – back in 1980 – decided to put a little ice rink where the deck is now. There was a little sheet of ice. It’s kind of neat putting a rink in the same spot.”

“I’m pretty honoured to be awarded,” said Kris Jackson, 42, at his Beacon Hill home on February 19. “This is the house I grew up in. Being in Fort McMurray for 39 years, my dad – back in 1980 – decided to put a little ice rink where the deck is now. There was a little sheet of ice. It’s kind of neat putting a rink in the same spot.”

Jackson is one of five Canadian rink builders selected and awarded in the partnered initiative of Canadian Tire’s: “We All Play For Canada” and RinkWatch’s: “Where Backyard Skating Meets Environmental Science”.

RinkWatch is an organization established in 2012 by a group of geographers at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. Its purpose is to monitor the effects of climate change by conducting an ongoing study, which seeks the public’s assistance from rink builders across North America. It gains data by the observations of reports compiled by the registered ‘RinkWatchers’.

According to a release, “RinkWatch has reported they have received 80 per cent less reports about rinks than they had last year due to strange weather conditions.”

Jackson has been taking part in the program since 2014 and said it was how he was discovered for the award. When first learning he had won, Jackson said he was “surprised and blindsided.”

He started building outdoor rinks four years ago when his youngest son Luke was two years old. Both of his sons Luke, 6, and Tim, 21, get out on the rink actively. And Jackson said that “Luke would be out every day if he could.”

“Luckily, we were some of the first to be out on the ice,” Jackson explained.

For this winter season, Jackson shared he’s been tracking his rink report (known on RinkWatch.org as “Luke’s Rink”) since the first skate on November 27, 2015.

“Luckily, we were some of the first to be out on the ice,” Jackson explained.

The current outdoor rink is Jackson’s biggest build yet. The 20-foot-by-30-foot sized surface is complete with LED lights (set within the ice) and rink boards featuring vinyl hockey logos.

Canadian Tire representatives came from Edmonton on February 16 to place a “We All Play For Canada” emblem on the rink, which added a special touch to the already professional-looking design.

Raymond McDonald, President and Owner of Fort McMurray’s Canadian Tire was present to watch his fellow representatives etch the logo. McDonald returned to Jackson’s home on February 19 to present him with the coveted gold-hose trophy.

McDonald shared how the rink brought back memories of his own when seeing Jackson’s for the first time.

Local resident Kris Jackson was presented with the coveted gold-hose trophy by Canadian Tire representatives for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Hoser event at his Beacon Hill home on February 19. (From left to right) President and Owner of Fort McMurray’s Canadian Tire Raymond McDonald, Great Canadian Hoser Kris Jackson and Fort McMurray’s Canadian Tire General Manager Rob Martin with Jackson’s sons Tim (far right) and Luke (front and centre). Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Local resident Kris Jackson was presented with the coveted gold-hose trophy by Canadian Tire representatives for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Hoser event at his Beacon Hill home on February 19. (From left to right) President and Owner of Fort McMurray’s Canadian Tire Raymond McDonald, Great Canadian Hoser Kris Jackson and Fort McMurray’s Canadian Tire General Manager Rob Martin with Jackson’s sons Tim (far right) and Luke (front and centre). Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

“When I came to see them lay down the logo on Tuesday night, I reflected all night long and the next day that it’s all about the memories,” he said. “The attention of a parent who takes the time and the impact that is has on the neighbourhood. As you grow up and get to be older, which I fall into that category, and you reflect back as a child… Those are warm memories that stay with you forever. You can see that with Kris’ son too. When he’s 60 years old, he will be reflecting back on the wonderful dad he had, and parents he had, to maintain it.”

Jackson and his wife Susan have been hosting many get-togethers and parties for friends and neighbours since the beginning of the skating season. Their son Luke’s minor hockey team have also been coming by to play.

“It leaves me the proud feeling of being able to see the kids out there laughing and having fun,” he said. “They don’t know it, but they are getting exercise and being active.”

To learn more about RinkWatch and see updated reports, visit www.rinkwatch.org. For residents seeking to build a rink of their own, Jackson suggests visiting www.mybackyardrink.com. It offers information, tips, advice and recommendations on backyard rink building.

– Connect Weekly –