Originally posted at: http://www.projo.com/news/content/ICE_SCHOOL_07-14-11_HJP5AK9_v11.3ca25.html
Thursday, July 14, 2011
By Donita Naylor
PROVIDENCE — Most of the city baked in a 92-degree oven Tuesday, and Wednesday was nearly as hot — but inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center, it was freezing.
The Dunk is unseasonably cold this week for Ice School 2011, which brought about 50 people from event centers around the country for three days of really cool training.
Phillip Ransford, 36, stood on the ice Tuesday and wished he had brought heavier socks. The director of operations for the Century Link Center near Shreveport, La., has been making ice for 10 years, so this was a refresher, he joked after consulting his smart phone for the current temperature back home: 104 degrees.
It was 107 in Oklahoma City, where Chris Muldrow, 30, works at the Cox Convention Center. He has been making arena ice for 3½ years, but he and three colleagues were seeing “all the new stuff” from such vendors as Zamboni, ice-paint maker Jet Ice and Athletica, which makes the aluminum “boards” that hockey players crash into.
Usually, The Dunk's hockey rink is created in September, removed for Monster Trucks and the circus, reinstalled, painted over for skating shows, and then scraped down to the hockey lines again for the rest of the Providence Bruins' regular season, which usually ends in May, said Lawrence Lepore, The Dunk's general manager.
Lepore works for SMG, a company based in Pennsylvania that operates arenas around the world. Ice School is SMG's in-house training for venue managers, technicians and engineers. The company last held an Ice School in Tampa six years ago, and it was time for another, said Lepore. Providence was chosen because its crews have been making ice every year since 1972.
Tuesday's lessons were in the finer points of ice-making, plus Refrigeration 101. Attendees learned how to paint the ice white (otherwise it would be the color of the concrete floor) and how to paint straight lines, perfect circles and hockey team logos.
Wednesday was driver training on the Zamboni, and hands-on operation of the lawnmower-size edger that gets what the Zamboni misses, plus Dehumidification.
Ice “acts like a big sponge,” pulling in a room's moisture, said Greg Tesone, co-director of this year's Ice School and the general manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center. For professional ice, humidity is almost as important as temperature.
Hockey ice, which needs to be hard for speed, is kept at 9 degrees, Lepore said, but for figure skating, it needs to be little softer, at 14 to 16 degrees.
Lepore said the company budgeted $10,000 to keep the ice at 9 degrees and the rest of The Dunk dry and in the 60s for Ice School in July. Vendors, he said, help defray some of that cost for the opportunity to tout their wares.
Jet Ice paint expert Dave Loverock, 60, of Ontario, Canada, misted the edges of an 8-foot logo to freeze it in place. The logo is printed in full color on a mesh background. Mesh is invisible to the eye and to the skate blade once the final ice layers, for a total depth of about 1¼ inches, are frozen over it.
Louie Barone, 47, of North Providence, The Dunk's operations foreman, said he picked up a tip to add to his 11 years of ice-making experience: Grind permanent marks into the base concrete so the rink's exact center and line placements don't have to be refigured for each installation.