The Hillsborough rink is a family affair, just Gordie, or his daughter

By Emily Acorn

Jan. 11, 2017

Gordie Griffen loved hockey as a kid. Every winter there was an outdoor rink in his neighbourhood so he and his friends could play.

Today, the 61-year-old has five daughters who all play hockey. He has flooded an outdoor rink in Hillsborough for his family and neighborhood kids since the youngest, Allison, was four.

This winter will be the 21st year for the rink. Kids from all over Hillsborough development will come together and play hockey, like his daughters did when they were young.

But there is one problem this year.

Griffen’s years of hard work have tired him out. He has had surgery on his back, two hip replacements and two new knees, so flooding the rink is hard.

This year Allison will flood the rink. She hopes it will be ready by the end of January.

“My dad is the hardest working man I know,” Allison said.

“His whole life he’s been pushing himself for his family.”

“I remember last year when he was flooding the rink, he was dragging a chair along the ice with him because he was fresh out of surgery on one of his knees.”

His family is used to it. Allison remembers when she was five asking her father why he couldn’t eat with the family.

“Dad, how come you never eat breakfast with us?”

“I have to go to work early.”

Every day after that he ate at the breakfast table with everyone, Allison said.

“He’s a complete family man.”

Gordie is optimistic there will be a rink this year.

“It’s important the kids have the rink so they can stay out of trouble. They should be outside instead of stuck inside in front of the computer.”

Ryan Trowsdale grew up in Hillsborough playing on the rink every year.

Gordie provided a spot for everyone, said the 23-year-old.

“He loved seeing the rink put to use whether he knew you or not. He gave us something to do rather than just play video games.”

Justin Cormier also grew up in Hillsborough and although he is now 23, he continues to play hockey every year on the rink. Now he brings his younger brothers, Blake and Chase, with him.

“The rink helped me out a lot growing up. It kept my friends and I busy and out of trouble. It was that or bomb cars.”

Twenty-two-year-old Jessika Weir and her family know Gordie as a neighbour and a friend.

The Weirs started kitchen renovations before Christmas. They purchased the flooring from the Griffen’s family business, GWG Flooring, Weir said.

“We started the floor too close to Christmas. We realized we wouldn’t have it done in time for. Eventually we came to terms with it just not getting finished. It was a mess.”

A week before Christmas, Griffen and one of his daughters showed up at their house and finished the floor just in time for celebrations.

“It was right after he had knee surgery and he still found the time to help us out.”