Ben Merritt handles a puck at the Charlotte Ice Rink, located on Hinesburg Road between Williams Hill Road and Charlotte Central School. Courtesy photo

Edd Merritt | Contributing Editor

This weekend was the revival of outdoor ice rinks. Oh yeah, Fenway Park tried to make something of it with a bunch of games in right field, but the real outdoor rink was right here in Charlotte, thanks to Bill Fraser-Harris and his flooders.

My grandsons couldn’t stay off it, and my son was more than happy to join them. Our Sunday dinner conversation was all talk of how great it will be to get there with the lights on.

Outdoor ice was my forte as a kid, too. We started skating on a dammed-up portion of the local river, with two-by-sixes for boards. I was a youngster on the team. Most of the stalwarts ended playing football – one even for the likes of the Oakland Raiders. One of the younger players was offspring to the Schlitz Brewery fortune. His family provided our uniforms.

We progressed gradually to indoor ice that was most-often shared with curlers. It did, though, cause our goalies to learn to move around rather then remain more padded with clothing than goalie equipment. Duluth’s curling club was a combination. It was indoors but unheated and maintained natural ice. People sat in the stands with the windows open while we skated – frankly, I was happy to be moving.

Well, CCS created memories and fun for the kids, despite the fact that when my son was asked by one of his teammates (a current Redhawk) in the pickup game if he had attended CVU and he replied that he had, graduating in 1992, he drew a stare of disbelief that there really was life that long ago.

Rory Merritt at the Charlotte Ice Rink, located on Hinesburg Road between Williams Hill Road and Charlotte Central School. Courtesy photo

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