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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

A Home Ice Skating Rink

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits: Kristen Knapp

Kristen, Brayden, Ryan, and Kayla Knapp

For eleven years, Ryan and Kristen Knapp have called Rutherford their hometown. It is where they are raising their two children, Kayla, a fifth-grader at Pierrepont School, and Brayden, a first-grader at Lincoln School. Ryan is a firefighter with the Hoboken Fire Department and Kristen is a first-grade teacher in Secaucus. As Ryan explained, “We enjoy spending time with family and friends. We are always looking for adventures and enjoy traveling!”

Just like many other families, the Knapps have tried to find creative ways to enable their children to keep enjoying their favorite activities during the pandemic, including hockey. Many Rutherford residents have passed by an unusual sight in the front yard of a house, the Knapp’s home. This is Rutherford spoke with Ryan and his son Brayden Knapp about their very own front yard ice hockey rink.

TIR: How long ago did you create the ice rink?

Ryan Knapp: When I saw we were headed into a below-freezing winter weather advisory I knew this was my opportunity to create the rink for Brayden. My buddy Patrick Depuzzo (also a Rutherford resident) and I got to work. It was an all-night project, waiting and watching making sure we didn't overfill it. At six am the rink was ready, two weeks later it was fully frozen and ready for hockey!

TIR: How do you make sure the ice stays frozen?

RK: That’s in the hands of mother nature. As long as we have below freezing temps, it will stay frozen but once the warmer weather comes, we may have to turn it into a roller rink!

TIR: When you are not busy with work and family, you referee college and pro hockey and you are an avid hockey fan. Do all of the members of your family share the same passion for hockey?

RK: We are definitely a big hockey family and I hope that Brayden follows in my footsteps. I’ve been playing hockey since I was three years old.

TIR: How long has Brayden been a fan of hockey?

RK: Brayden has participated in learn to skate programs but this is his first year on a traveling hockey team and he loves it! We joke around because waking up for school is difficult for Brayden but waking up at 6:30 am on a weekend for hockey he is jumping out of bed.

TIR: What are people’s reactions when they see any of you skating on the ice rink outside of your home?

RK: It’s pretty funny when you have people walking their dog or running and they seem to always stop to look or take a picture. They do a double-take! We’ve seen people reverse their cars and back up to take a picture of the rink. It isn’t something you expect to see on the front lawn of someone’s house.

TIR: You are the only child in Rutherford with his own ice rink. How does that make you feel?

Brayden Knapp: It makes me feel happy because I love to skate every day!

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