Ice Maintenance : how to improve ice quality
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11-19-2008, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
I play hockey a few times a week in a few different arenas.
One arena in particular has serious ice problems.
They pass the zamboni and we get on the ice.
About 30 minutes later the snow build-up starts to become a factor.
An hour into the game, there is so much snow it feels like you are playing on an outdoor rink.
Does anybody have any suggestions on how to fix this problem ?
Yes! First, don't get on the *%&$(^%# until the ice sets. This will help a little.
Is the rink not cold enough ?
Find out what temperture the compressor is running at. The odds are really good they are running the Ice temperture at 23. I run my compressors at 20.
Now think of this for a second. You don't really want to know what my electric bill is. And yes, that comes with running a business. But for every degree, I raise the ice temperture, it add an extra $1000.00 to the bill. Now, I know that this doesn't mean much to you. But if I raise the drop-in fee to pay for this extra $1000.00 players are going to complain that the drop-in fees are too much.
The ice too soft ?
Yes, it because the temperture is set at around the 20's. 17, 18 and 19 is a good setting. But that really cost money. If you have a pro team that uses the ice, then the ice will be hard because they can pay for it. It just means that you are getting the benefit on skating on nice ice because they practice there and they paid for the extra hard ice...get it. Ok, maybe it not a pro team that uses the sheet. How about a college team or Junior A team. See who's playing there and that will also determine the hardness of the ice. Youth hockey....forget it. Juniors or College then I will tune the temp down so that they don't mess up my paint. It cost about $10,000 to do a paint job on a rink, complete with logos and multiple ad logos on the ice surface. Last thing I want is to have the ice too soft so players cut my paint.
The zamboni not using enough water ?
Nice try. It has nothing to do with the Zamboni. Ok, well maybe just a little. If you use hot water to lay down the sheet, it has less air bubbles when it lays down, which means you will get harder ice in the long run.
Compared to other rinks, the staff at this rink don't seem to care too much.
As soon as the last game of the night is finished, they close the rink & leave. The maintenance staff does not stay for an extra hour or two to hose the ice down, check for cracks etc...
Well, I do hose down the ice, but only when it is concaved. We try to edge all the time, but when the zam goes around the edges, and we have the water turned off by half, we drive slower along the boards which still add more water then you need. This cases the ice to build up around the board in an area of about 4 feet out from the boards towards the center.
This causes the ice to get uneven. So, we flood heavy at the center ice and lite on the outside. This will help even out the ice.
To check the thickness out, we have taken electrical box slugs, painted them florecent orange, and placed them on the white paint when we re-painted the ice this August. These color dots are about 1" to 1.5 inches down. Then we take a small drill bit and drill down to those slugs and measure the ice thinkness each week. This will tell us how deep the ice is in certain areas. If the ice is to thick, the compressors will run all the time to keep it cold. If it to thin, then we have to worry about players cutting though the paint.
Last edited by Headcoach: 11-19-2008 at
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