Meet the Rink-Meister of Molyneaux Road – Knox County VillageSoup

CAMDEN – Need some fresh air and exercise after a long winter and a longer pandemic? If you’re like David Gelinas from Molyneaux Road, that’s no problem.

He built a skating rink in his front yard.

Neighborhood kids enjoy skating on the Molyneaux Road Ice Rink in Camden. Photo courtesy of David Gélinas

Gelinas has been doing this for years. He was known as “Rink-Meister” in other towns where he lived. He moved to Camden with his wife Rae-Ann and son, Noah, about six years ago.

He works on the water as a harbor pilot aboard the Dirigo. When foreign freighters need to enter Penobscot Bay, it’s his job to meet them, board their ship and take over navigation of the local waters as they make their way to Searsport, Bucksport or Bar Harbor. The job requires crazy hours, sometimes getting up at 3 a.m.

In his spare time, he enjoys staying active and playing hockey. You can see the goal nets on his rink.

Ice clearing on Molyneaux Road in Camden. Photo courtesy of David Gélinas

Her son, now 10, has been skating since he was about four years old, and neighborhood kids learn to skate on the Gélinas family rink.

It’s not easy to install one. The key is to get the brackets that will hold the rink together in the ground at the right time. Too frozen, and they don’t come in. Too hot, and they won’t hold. The rink itself must be perfectly measured using delicate geometry. Gelinas warns that looking at it won’t create a true rectangle. The dimensions of the current rink are 64 feet by 28.

He said he’d usually put something like this in the back and he knows it’s quite noticeable on a street in Camden, but it was the only stretch of yard he had that was fairly flat.

A family from Molyneaux Road in Camden have created their own ice rink in their front yard. Pictured, left to right, are Noah Gelinas, Rae-Ann Gelinas, Andrew Laidlaw and David Gelinas. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Once the supports are in place, the boards are put in place to frame it and a liner, which must be purchased new every year for most, can be laid. He said the key is that you have to have a period of cold days in the long term forecast. Eventually, he fills the rink with water from a garden hose and notes that it’s not a short process.

Once it’s frozen, it’s gone!

He has already done so in other places, notably by building an ice rink for the Castine primary school where his daughter from a previous marriage was taking lessons.

He trained for his work on the water at the Maine Maritime Academy. He learned his love of boats by visiting his grandparents on the Connecticut coast growing up.

Gelinas noted how much he respected and admired Captain Gilbert Hall, who was a longtime Penobscot Bay pilot and passed the torch to Gelinas upon his retirement.

A photo of Camden Ice Rink at night, courtesy of David Gelinas.

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