- Associated Press - Sunday, January 17, 2021

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Brothers Russell and Henry Fistler are avid skaters and love to play hockey, so when they found out they were getting a skating rink at home, they were both on board with the idea.

“I was really excited,” said Henry, 9. Russell, 7, agreed. “I’ve always wanted one, so when I found out, I was really glad.”

The boys’ parents Katie and Ben Fistler had tossed around the idea for a bit before they committed to purchasing a do-it-yourself kit. “I had one when I was a kid. My dad built one for me,” Ben told the Mason City Globe Gazette. “I bought a kit and then we joined a Facebook group of backyard-rink people.”

Assembly of the rink only took about a day, according to Ben, but took another four days to freeze the 5 or 6 inches of water that covers the 20 foot by 30 foot base. The Fistlers say they might make it bigger when they put it up next year.

“During COVID, when there’s not a lot going on – we wanted to make something fun for the kids in the neighborhood,” Katie said, noting that the boys’ Albert Lea-based hockey league is on hiatus until after the first of the year.

“Every day after school, they play on it,” Katie said. “On weekends, they’re in and out all day long and they bring their friends over. It gives them something to do.”

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