It was a balmy -3° January afternoon in Portage la Prairie as Rick Bracko laced up his skates, put on his hockey gloves and shot around a few pucks on Crescent Lake on Thursday.

Bracko, who is from Calgary but is in Portage seeing family, says that he brought his hockey gear in hopes of killing some time during the day while waiting for his relatives to get off work. Lucky for the Albertan man, Skating on the Crescent is in full force in the City of Possibilities.

"This is great. You have to love it. It's just the greatest thing to get out on the ice. If you're Canadian, you have to get out on the lake and go for a skate."

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Bracko tells PortageOnline that he regularly visits outdoor rinks in Calgary, but nothing quite compares to the sound of skates tearing through the lake in Portage.

"It's just a great way to get some exercise and try to raise the puck," he laughed. "I grew up in Calgary and played as a kid and did some refereeing. So, yeah, it is nice to be on the ice."

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Bracko, a lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan, noted the scenic location added to the overall ambiance. As he watched cars hustle down Crescent Road, he took in the view of the historic houses facing the rink while shooting some pucks, just as his Canadian roots intended him to do.