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Skating Through Nature

from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun,

Stepping down from the Zamboni, yet another flood complete, former Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil looks out at the tree-lined ice dream that has been carved out of the wilderness just outside Stittsville.

“We’ve talked about it, with two partners (Jarrett Gibbons and Steve Beck), for about four years,” said Neil, who has exchanged his Senators equipment for heavy-duty outdoor gear in advance of Friday’s official opening of the Icelynd Skating Trails. “We started getting ready at the end of September and there were no roads in here. We did a lot in a short period of time.”

Neil bought 90 acres of land off Fernbank Road years ago, while still playing with the Senators, and tossed around different ideas on how to eventually develop it.

Somehow, it only makes sense that the resulting project would revolve around ice.

Family and friends have chipped in with time, machinery and electrical know-how.

The venture open to the public includes a well-lit, two-kilometre skating loop through the pines, cedars and poplars, with bonfires and benches set up for breaks along the way. Another three-kilometre stretch should be open within the next couple of weeks.


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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