ODTUG Member Series: The Hockey Nerd

(Kris and his son Zack - a true hockey family)

  • Name: Kris Rice
  • Location: Bedford, New Hampshire
  • Age check box: 35-44
  • Current career age: ~19 years
  • # of years involved with ODTUG: ~9 years
  • Company: Oracle Corporation
  • Title: Senior Director of Development
  • Technology identifiers: Database tools, original creator of Oracle SQL Developer and Oracle APEX Listener
  • Twitter: @krisrice
  • Blog: krisrice.blogspot.com

Kris Rice is a prominent figure in the database and development side of the Oracle world. One of the original creators of SQL Developer (thank you, Kris!) and Oracle APEX Listener, he's been with Oracle Corporation for almost 19 years. He's also been instrumental in assisting ODTUG with the annual Kscope conference. He's presented at Kscope since 2006, has organized the database Sunday Symposium for the past four years, and even won Oracle Contributor of the Year in 2012. He has a wonderfully skilled team (whose members have also won a number of awards), and he has a passion for ODTUG because, "ODTUG has been great to us."


My personal interactions with Kris have been minimal, but I constantly hear his name throughout the ODTUG network. Getting to know his more personal, quirky side has been a treat.

If you don't know Kris personally, there are at least two important things that you must understand - and these become obvious if you're connected to him in any way through social media:

1.    His family lives and breathes hockey.
2.    Which almost comes second to his obsession with their Great Danes.

I first came by the nugget of information regarding Kris' hockey hobby when I was told about the ice rink that once existed in his backyard. Yep, he once had his own ice rink. In that same conversation the Great Danes were mentioned, but we'll cover that story last.

The Backyard Rink Story

A little trivia for those of you not from the northern parts of the United States: Houses up there come with backyard rinks. This is a real thing. I like to think of this as the Northern version of a Southern house that comes with a pool.

In 2013, the Rice family decided to uncover the deserted rink in their backyard and make it operational. This was the first time they attempted such a feat. Kris compared the construction of it to a jigsaw puzzle. It was an effort to pull it and stretch it out. Their rink ended up being 75-80 feet long and 30-40 feet wide.


(the initial build phase)

So why did they do this? Kris' reason: "For goofing off with hockey." Of course.


(backyard hockey with family and friends)

Notice that I refer to the backyard rink in the past tense. What happened to it after that first year? Once they got it working, they realized how much effort was involved and decided not to put it back together again. It takes a lot of time to set it up, maintain it, and break it down every year. For instance:

  • Every time it snows, you have to take the snow off.
  • You have to flood it down with water to smooth it over (they were able to leverage the water from the creek running through their backyard).
  • Anytime anything happens to the surface, you pretty much have to scrape it down.

Now every year during winter they go over to a friend's house and goof off on their rink.

Further Down the Rabbit Hole

If you follow Kris on Twitter or are friends with him on Facebook, you'll see clues about just how far down the rabbit hole goes when it comes to hockey. I warned Kris that I would need to Facebook stalk him in order to gather pictures for this article. His response was, "I'm sorry." When I looked through his photo albums I easily found ~1,000 pictures of his son's games. No exaggeration.

Also, take a look at Kris' Twitter handle:


Do you see that "\_." circled in red immediately following his name? Guess what that is? Yep, it's a hockey stick and puck.

Both he and his son play hockey, watch hockey, practice hockey, and travel over 50 miles to attend Boston Bruins games. He only started playing about five years ago. He estimates that he spends about 10 hours a week on this obsession. Kris says he plays two to three days a week in a "beer league" (local, fun leagues). Here's a hilarious article on the stereotypical players in this type of league (note that Kris considers himself to be the “Wants to Fight” adult hockey player type, but only because he's always fighting with code).


(Kris and Zack posing with the Stanley Cup)

If you've never played hockey before and would like to look into it, Kris offers a funny, popular YouTube video as an introduction to the sport.

His son Zack started playing in a "peewee league" (minor league ice hockey for kids under the age of 13) when they lived in Fresno, California. Zack tried other sports, but hockey has been the most fun and he stuck with it over time. Zack now plays competitive hockey for his high school and club team. On November 14, Zack's team won the New Hampshire Tier 2 Midget state title. In March, they're going to the national playoffs. Woohoo!

Kris' wife of 22 years, Joyce, is happy to be the resident cheerleader. Although she doesn't play hockey herself, she does ice skate and cheers them on. She also doesn't mind being the lap that their Great Danes like to sit on.


(Joyce and their Great Dane, Pixie)

Kris' dogs, Pixie and Ry (short for Riley), also join in on the hockey fun. When I mentioned that my feeble hockey knowledge might need some additional education, Ry signed up for the job.


Now that we're talking about Great Danes...

Ah yes, so let's get to the other one of Kris' two major obsessions. He absolutely adores his Great Danes. You'll see evidence of this on social media. Every now and then, there's a hilarious picture of one of his dogs. In addition, the number of pictures and videos of his pups almost rivals the number of hockey pictures on his Facebook account.

The Rice family got their first Great Dane when Zack was young and wanted a puppy. So they did their research and got one from a breeder who only bred show dogs. They decided to show him and actually got a couple of second-place ribbons. Later, they added a female to the mix.

Over time, one thing led to another between their two Great Danes (apparently during a hockey game), and the Rice family ended up having a litter of Great Danes.


(Kris and their Great Dane pups)

They decided to keep one of the pups. They currently have two Great Danes. The father of the litter, Riley, weighs in at 180 pounds. Their other dog, Pixie (one of Riley's daughters), weighs 120 pounds.

Kris' awesome experience with his pups has his mind made up: He feels pretty strongly that they will always have Great Danes in their life.


(what feeding time looks like with three Great Danes)

Fun facts about his Great Danes:

  • When the puppies were two days shy of 8 weeks old, they went through an entire 40-pound bag of dog food in two days!
  • They often think that they're lap dogs and will try to lie on your lap. Joyce can attest to this fact.
  • One of the litter pups is now a police mascot in Oregon.
  • They love eating snow (I saw a video on Facebook where his dogs are walking around just eating random snow off the ground).
  • Riley likes to lie behind Kris in his office. Often Riley rolls into him, and this action ends up pinning Kris to the desk (imagine 180 pounds leaning against you!).

(when obsessions collide - Great Dane paw prints on the backyard rink)

Fun facts about Kris:

  • His first tech job was babysitting an $80K printer.
  • Kris is an avid NRA member, and he even has his instructor credentials.
  • He's taken off in more planes than he's landed in (he went through jump school in the service).
  • He met Joyce at Dracula on Friday the 13th.
  • His son Zack was born on Friday the 13th.

Thanks for the fun interview, Kris!


(Kris and Zack on the beach)

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