The Rink Prince of
Leeon Prince - Mattagami First Nation
1/8 Thomas Prince – better known as Tom – is
Mattagami First Nation’s Odamino Centre Arena
manager and caretaker.
Tom is putting down one of the first layers of water with a
hose in the arena. After a few layers with the hose he
can move to the Olympia and put down the lines.
When asked how long he has had this position, Tom
explained, “This is going to be the third season –
2/8 Tom’s was given a quality Odamino Center jacket for his job –
he had “Rink Prince” custom-sewed on to the arm after being given
the idea from his son Leeon.
This shows the pride that Tom takes in his work. He works hard
every winter through trial and error in hopes of opening the arena to
“It’s a place to commune, it’s a place to gather, it’s a place to play
sports and get exercise,” says Tom.
3/8 For his safety, and to keep salt off of the ice, Tom
wears cleats on his boots. It also gets chilly in the
arena due to it being air cooled.
Tom works here alone, so personal safety is a big
priority, especially considering he spends many hours
working and being on the ice.
4/8 There are four big exhaust fans on the
walls that play an important role in the
arena. Air from outside comes in from one
side and goes out the other to ensure the
area stays cold and the air circulates.
There are also four big doors that Tom will
open in order to keep the arena cool and to
assist the water freezing.
5/8 A crate of hockey pucks, and
one ringette ring, that have been
used over the years that the rink has
Two years ago, there was a
generous donation of hockey
equipment from the Rotary Club and
some from the community members
for all the youth to use.
6/8 Tom closing the shop door where he keeps all the equipment he
needs to take care of the arena and centre.
When asked where he got his knowledge and experience from, Tom
responded, “You learn by doing.”
7/8 The employee room (known as the “shop”) is
where the two machines used on the ice reside.
The Olympia is used after Tom is finished
watering with the hose, and when the ice is level
The ice edger is used to smooth out the ice
around the boards, as the Olympia can only go so
close to the boards.
8/8 “I grew up doing this, when I was a kid
we ran an outside rink and we took care of it.
I was always at arenas, playing hockey, and
travelling around. At this point in my life, it’s
the perfect job for me.”
-Tom Prince, December 3, 2021