Where are they now?

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Given his chance, Dave Gagner will turn the state into 10,000 rinks.

Years ago, while living in Toronto, the former Flames centre had an idea to build a rink for his family. Not just any rink.

His idea was to build a frozen backyard playground that could withstand the potential changes in weather.

The plan required more than just a level surface, water and falling mercury.

His idea meant a refrigeration unit and piping and planning.

Eventually, he found a firm that could make his dream a reality. Why not start a company that could do the same for others?

"Really, this came from wanting a reliable rink for five months for my kids," recalls Gagner, who collected 27 goals and 60 points for the Flames in 1996-97.

The result became Custom Ice Rinks. Nearly six years later, more than 100 rinks, mainly in southern Ontario and the eastern U.S., have been built.

"It's been a lot of long hours but it's starting to grow to a point where we can explore other areas," says Gagner, who moved to Minnesota within the last year.

In that time, the company has built outdoor backyard rinks as small as 20-ft. by 40-ft. all the way up to surfaces 60-ft. by 120-ft, using refrigeration units that use residential power, their own piping system and even lightweight boards to surround it all.

They've developed technology that allows removable rinks over swimming pools, and even installations on concrete pads that can be used as tennis or basketball courts in warmer months.

And now Gagner is branching out even further.

His current project is the creation of a two-thirds sized indoor rink -- a converted warehouse as the shell -- in the city of Eden Prairie, MN.

Gagner, whose son Sam is skating for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL, sees the rink as the perfect solution for younger teams to gain more practice time in the winter months.

And the summer can be just as busy.

"We're also going to have a three-on-three league for kids to just play," he said.


Videos

Photos