It’s that time of year. Across Canada most cities have had consistent enough cold weather that they can start to open up their outdoor rinks.

So, let’s go over a few ground rules.

Every outdoor rink has actual rules, but those are pretty well known. The City of Toronto has rules such as no hockey sticks or pucks on pleasure skating rinks, leave the ice surface when asked to by staff, wear a helmet and so on. What we’re more concerned with are the rules that aren’t enforced by anyone except for the players on the ice.

These are the unwritten rules of the ODR (Feel free to add your own to the list by tweeting us @BarDown).

No slap shots

Come on. This is the simplest rule, yet the one that we find to be the most frequently broken. It seems like every week someone comes onto the ice and takes a Subban-style full wind up clapper. Even if it’s on a breakaway, do you want to be the guy that shot a puck off a post and hit someone in the face? Work on your snapper, because it could surely use some attention.

Random teams

We get that you’re there with your friends, but you know what’s even more fun than teaming up against a bunch of local scrubs? Playing against each other and getting some bragging rights. Everybody puts their sticks in the middle at the beginning of the game and you play to a number of goals or posts. Once that number is hit, re-shuffle the teams.

If you need to play on the same team as each other, sign up for a beer league team.

If you shot it, you get it

Nobody likes this one, but we can all agree that it’s fair if applied uniformly. If you shoot a puck and it hits a post/stick/rut and goes twenty feet outside of the rink, you have to go get it. Take a lap.

Let breakaways happen

If someone is 15 feet behind any player and on a breakaway, let him have it. We’re all here for the highlights anyways. There’s no need to waste your energy trying to catch him and risking your own safety and his. This is never going to be the best ice and you don’t want to send someone flying into the boards like McDavid.

Save that energy for playing some good defence when you’re actually in a good position to do so. We’re all for some good old fashion grinding out there, but a breakaway is not the place to find your Game 7 mentality.

EXCEPTION: If you’re in a next goal/post scenario, all bets are off.

Let the kids/beginners play

Listen, you have do this. We know the quality of the hockey might not be as high and the game will go a little slower at times, but these rinks are for recreational fun. It’s not always going to be kids, because a lot of them will dangle you nowadays anyways, but just try to get everyone involved and make it a good experience.

That means not just letting them play, but passing the puck too.

We want to keep people coming back to these games so more people can fall in love with the game we have so much fun playing. For the greater good!

Last group on the ice shovels it

This is something that might feel like the last thing you want to do on a frigid night after a couple hours of hockey, but if everybody shovels the ice after their done, it makes it much easier for everyone involved. This goes for the last people for the night especially, because it helps out the volunteers who may have to flood the ice after you’re done.

These things are usually free, so the least you could do is pick up a shovel every once in a while.

Goalies switch

This is for when there’s only one goalie. Everybody knows that shooting on a goalie is more fun. So, set a limit, whether it’s three or five posts, have the goalie skate to the other end and give the other team some licks.