NEWTON (CBS) – Dylan Gastel grew up in Rhode Island playing ice hockey, and he’s made it his business to pass his love for the sport onto others.
“Truly my best childhood memories are skating with my brother, my sister, my friends, my teammates in my backyard,” he said. “I thought why don’t I invent a backyard ice rink that can be assembled by anyone in any backyard all across North America.”
Gastel founded EZ ICE in 2016 while studying Mechanical Engineering at Yale University. The mission was simple.
“My goal truly is to grow the game of ice hockey,” said Gastel.
Now, the 25-year-old has a team of 20 employees selling the “do it yourself” backyard rinks out of the company’s Newton office. Last Winter, business took off.
“Last year we did about $16 million in revenue which is awesome. On the one hand you had a lot of families who had a need for this at home. On the other hand, I think in 2020 there’s been this boom of excitement towards doing outdoors activities,” said Gastel.
The rinks come in different sizes and can be assembled on any flat surface in under an hour, and there’s no tools involved in the setup.
“You set up the perimeter of the rink with these giant 5-foot well-manufactured plastic pieces. When you fill the rink with water and ice, the weight of the water on one side actually holds up the walls on the other side, locking the rink into place,” said Gastel.
Of course, in order for this to work there’s one major thing needed: ice.
“If it’s below 32 degrees and you have a yard, you can have an EZ ICE rink,” said Gastel.
With help from Mother Nature this winter, they hope to pick up from where they left off.
“The more revenue we do the more we can invest into new products and further grow the game of hockey, this year, the next year, and beyond,” said Gastel.