Frigid temperatures in the single digits last week didn't prevent a cadre of hearty souls from venturing out to Pickerington's outdoor ice rink in Victory Park.
While the arctic blast forced school closings for Pickerington and other area districts on both January 28 and 29, many kids -- and a few adults -- got off the couch and onto the ice.
Tina Cubra, a substitute teacher with Pickerington Local Schools, brought her three children, all students in the district, down to the rink to take advantage of the day off Jan. 28.
"I just live up the street," Cubra said. "We wanted to try out the free ice rink."
Trevor, Cameron and Cassidy Cubra all "are big Pittsburgh Penguins fans," said Tina Cubra, a Pittsburgh native herself.
"They love playing hockey," she said. "It's nice to come our your front door and not have to drive up to Easton."
Also out on the ice throughout the week was Brandon Pfeiffer, a varsity defenseman for the PHA Prowlers, a club high school team comprised of local kids from mostly Pickerington, Canal Winchester and Pataskala.
"We just have a great time playing outdoor hockey," said Pfeiffer, a Canal Winchester resident, after he battled for the puck against his Prowler teammate, Ryan Hogan.
Normally the Prowlers goalie, Hogan got a rare chance to play up on this day.
"I'm the one with the clown shoes on," joked Hogan, pointing to his goalie skates.
With kindergarten classes canceled, 5-year year old Landon Kallenberg took to the ice like a seasoned pro.
"He's been skating for two years, and playing hockey for three months," said Landon's father, Scott Kallenberg. He also said the large turnout on a frigid day perhaps points to the need for a more permanent rink in Pickerington.
"If we had a rink in this town a lot of people would use it," said Kallenberg, a Pickerington resident who was also born and raised in the area.
"I mean, we came down here today and there were 15 kids playing hockey. We had to wait to get in the ice."
The rink even hosted an international skater when Savio Barbosa, a Brazilian citizen from Rio de Janeiro, showed up, outfitted with his newly purchased hockey equipment.
"My uncle drove by and showed me the ice rink, so I had to try it. It was a prefect day to come," said Barbosa.
Pickerington Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger said she is happy to see the rink, which was installed Jan. 16, being utilized.
"We're very pleased with how many people are using the ice rink given the frigid temperatures outside lately," Medinger said.
She said the rink will be up as long as the ice remains frozen.
"Once it starts to thaw, we will look to see if we are expected to have any more freezing temperatures and if not, we will start to remove (the rink)," Medinger said.
Scott Kallenberg echoed the sentiments of the rest of the skaters when he said he hoped the cold weather continues.
"Any time a 5-year-old asks you 'can we come back?' and it's free, I'll do that any day. I'm all over that," he said.
For more information or to check the ice rink's availability, go to the city's website at http://www.ci.pickerington.oh.us/; or call 614-833-2211.