Michael Roy’s addiction started four years ago. And it is an addiction, this pond-hockey love, his ice rink devotion, this nice-ice fix Roy needs four months of the year.

The guys who work at his Rockport home design company, Phi Home Designs, come out to his Camden house every Tuesday night to play hockey under lights, with the fire pit going, the puck flying. They say they caught the bug from their boss.

“I hadn’t actually played hockey since high school and I started playing at his house last year. He just put the invitation out there, and I started going with a couple of other guys. Now it’s one of my favorite nights of the week,” said Jesse Dunn, who works for Roy.

Roy is the kind of hockey fan who goes around looking for open fields, envisioning hockey rinks, dreaming of ice sheets in more backyards.

So it was that on a winter day last year Roy stood in the Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre during the town’s WinterFest, looking up at ice sculptures by artists who came to inspire youth. And Roy saw an ice rink.

He looked at the stonework, the stately brick library, the birch and pine trees hugging the oval park. With its classic Maine coastal view to a slice of ocean calm, the Camden park was, in Roy’s view, the arena for a magnificent ice rink.

Roy lobbied town officials and drew support from residents. The funds for the rink were raised, and two weeks ago a $3,000 kit from Nice Rinks in Wisconsin was unloaded at the park. In a matter of hours a town rink was built.

Following Roy and his crew as they built Camden’s public ice rink illustrated how simple the process can be, and at least in some eyes, how much fun.

The material for the rink installed next to the Camden library has five simple components: plastic sideboards in 4-foot sections; plastic brackets to support the sideboards; a plastic liner; foam bumpers that slip on the sideboards; and a plastic kick plate to keep the liner from tearing.

“You can essentially put it together without any tools, other than a hammer for the brackets,” Roy said.

In three hours a half dozen helpers shoveled snow off the grass and put up the sideboards. The next day, the liner went in, with the foam bumpers to hold it in place.

Then the Camden Fire Department took care of the water delivery, filling the rink with an estimated 28,000 gallons of water.

And on Jan. 22, when the rest of Maine was fearing the negative-zero temperatures to come, Michael Roy was smiling.

“The two perfect words I heard the weatherman say: ‘Arctic cold.’“

In short order the rink was frozen and complete, requiring nothing more from Roy. The ice, however, would.

Mother Nature is apt to drizzle rain and snow on the surface, and skaters will cut it up, making repair necessary. This, Roy says, is the source of his addiction: This making of ice.

Since he built his first home ice rink for his two daughters four years ago, Roy has fallen into the winter ritual: checking the ice first thing in the morning and right before bed; going out to rake and pour hot water on it. It is a ritual rooted in nature, as natural as the tides.

“Starting in December, I’m making ice until the end,” he said.

Until spring, Camden’s new rink will open at dawn and close at 8 p.m., at which time Roy will make ice there.

“Some people think it’s crazy to be outside, resurfacing the ice or checking on it. But it’s an art. It’s a challenge to have good ice in all conditions of the winter,” Roy said.

Any snow or rain needs to be scraped off. Then a hand-held mini-Zamboni shoots hot water that is smoothed over the ice. If done on a regular basis, level ice is easy to keep, Roy said.

And so sometime after he gets home to find his two daughters skating under lights on their backyard rink, and after he makes the ice there, Roy will go to Camden’s public rink before bed, to make ice.

“It’s always in the back of my mind. I’ll be watching football trying to decide when I’ll put fresh ice on, wondering would there be enough time at halftime. The thing is alive,” Roy said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]