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Ice Maintenance : how to improve ice quality

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Old
11-18-2008, 02:49 PM
  #1
guapo23
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Ice Maintenance : how to improve ice quality

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 ?
Is the rink not cold enough ?
The ice too soft ?
The zamboni not using enough water ?

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...

The ice is fine in terms of cracks & holes - they aren't really any.
But the snow build-up is really becoming a problem.

Any suggestions ?

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11-18-2008, 04:46 PM
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boxcar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guapo23 View Post

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...

The ice is fine in terms of cracks & holes - they aren't really any.
But the snow build-up is really becoming a problem.

Any suggestions ?
I play hockey at two different rinks & manage (zam drive, best job EVER) an open air ice rink. Snow builds up regardless when playing hockey games. More skaters = more snow. It would be way better for the ice if the staff zambonied the surface before they closed up & they certainly would NEVER want to hose down the ice. That would make for an uneven surface. You have to mist water down slowly with a hose to build up the ice, than use a zamboni to spread water evenly. Cracks & holes should never be a problem at an indoor rink. It sounds like there is just a lot of skating being done in your games. Not a whole lot can be done other than using big squeegee's to push it off in the D zones like they do in the NHL during tv timeouts. Play thru it & get your dangling done early in the game.

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11-18-2008, 05:08 PM
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Improving Ice Quality...

Reducing the temperature? That could help.

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11-18-2008, 05:45 PM
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''Make it colder'' doesn't really work. My good buddies dad owns a huge rink. Its international ice size plus seating for 5000+. He's had it for 15 years, and the ice still sucks.

Bottom line is money. It's expensive to keep those coolers running. He tries his best, but the corners still down freeze fully. It's a tough job and hard to find serious help. If someone goes wrong, they usually have to wait for experts from Canada to come in to fix anything thats broke.

And besides, the rink owner probably knows 100x times than a random hockey player suggesting something. (No offense.)

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11-18-2008, 05:49 PM
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when i worked at a rink, doing a dry cut, then a regular cut made the ice great. however that will increase cost and take more time.

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11-18-2008, 11:13 PM
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guapo23
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Thanks for the tips.
Was hoping some zamboni drivers & ice technicians would have some good suggestions.

The problem really is the snow build-up.
After 30 minutes it's the same as a full game of 1:30 played in other rinks
in terms of the snow build-up.

The rink is owned by the city of Montreal - it is not privately owned.
So there is less incentive to do a good job - they are unionized workers unlikely to be fired.

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11-18-2008, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guapo23 View Post
Thanks for the tips.
Was hoping some zamboni drivers & ice technicians would have some good suggestions.

The problem really is the snow build-up.
After 30 minutes it's the same as a full game of 1:30 played in other rinks
in terms of the snow build-up.

The rink is owned by the city of Montreal - it is not privately owned.
So there is less incentive to do a good job - they are unionized workers unlikely to be fired.
That kind of stuff doens't reflect on the workers, much more the management. If they don't ask for it to happen, it won't.

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11-19-2008, 05:03 AM
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iceman_88888888
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excessive snow buildup is a necessary evil of hockey. even at the pro arenas, after about 30 mins of straight hockey will get a big buildup of snow everywhere. i've played on rexall place ice and, while not as good as it used to be, snow buildup happens.

if the rink was colder, the ice gets harder and ruts become a problem if the zamboni doesn't do a good job and even if it does, chances are the water won't have enough time to freeze before people get on the ice.

i think the solution, but don't quote me on it, is that if the rink had dehumidifiers, the ice becomes more consistent and excessive snow doesn't become as much of a problem. the drier the air, the quicker and smoother the ice freezes.

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11-19-2008, 12:31 PM
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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 12:55 PM.
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11-19-2008, 01:47 PM
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Headcoach, so this is for a rink in SCottsdale then? It's purely anecdotal, but when I've gotten up to play at 7 am, I've noticed the ice is the best when it's so bloody cold outside I wished I had stayed in bed. How much does the outside temp help in keeping the ice in a good condition?

If you are in SCottsdale, I would be curious to see how different things are in AZ vs here in Canada. If you are of a mind, could you PM me some details of where you are located? My wife and I will be there for a week in january. If she doesn't mind, we may just stop by. I'd be curious to see what kind of challenges a desert rink has over one here.

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11-19-2008, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefan75 View Post
Headcoach, so this is for a rink in SCottsdale then? It's purely anecdotal, but when I've gotten up to play at 7 am, I've noticed the ice is the best when it's so bloody cold outside I wished I had stayed in bed. How much does the outside temp help in keeping the ice in a good condition?

If you are in SCottsdale, I would be curious to see how different things are in AZ vs here in Canada. If you are of a mind, could you PM me some details of where you are located? My wife and I will be there for a week in january. If she doesn't mind, we may just stop by. I'd be curious to see what kind of challenges a desert rink has over one here.
Well, to be honest, my home is in Scottsdale, but I work 45 mins. south of Chicago. This is where I run the rink.

As far as temperture in the desert. It really makes a compressor run. But, the ice cost in Arizona is $425.00 an hour. This will help pay for that hardness. How much does it cost to rent the ice in your area?

I bought my house in Scottsdale just 2 mins. away from the Phoenix Coyote practice rink. It's located in North Scottsdale off of east Bell. You are welcome to stop in and check it out. It's a pretty nice state-of-the-art rink that stays pretty cool in the desert. You can check out the hours here: http://www.coyotesice.com/home.php


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11-19-2008, 02:31 PM
  #12
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Originally Posted by Headcoach View Post
Well, to be honest, my home is in Scottsdale, but I work 45 mins. south of Chicago. This is where I run the rink.

As far as temperture in the desert. It really makes a compressor run. But, the ice cost in Arizona is $425.00 an hour. This will help pay for that hardness. How much does it cost to rent the ice in your area?

I bought my house in Scottsdale just 2 mins. away from the Phoenix Coyote practice rink. It's located in North Scottsdale off of east Bell. You are welcome to stop in and check it out. It's a pretty nice state-of-the-art rink that stays pretty cool in the desert. You can check out the hours here: http://www.coyotesice.com/home.php


Head coach
Yeah I guess Chicago is a little different from Scottsdale. Ice is nowhere near that here. Probably a little more in line with Chicago. From what i'm told by the guy who runs it, $165/hour for 10 pm on Wednesday nights. This is the 6th consecutive year of increased rental rates, while minor hockey has not had an increase. We're subsidizing the minor hockey ice time to a degree from what I understand. But the city here has many management problems that I won't get into here.

I will certainly check that out. We plan on hitting a game while we're down there, so that should be interesting.

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11-19-2008, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefan75 View Post

I will certainly check that out. We plan on hitting a game while we're down there, so that should be interesting.

Well, allow yourself some extra time for the commute. Phoenix is the 4th largest city in the country and it is really spread out. The Phoenix Coyotes play in the city of Glendale, at the Glendale Ice Arena, which is located next to the Cardinal's Stadium.

Glendale is about a 45 min. drive from Scottsdale. I recommend you take the 101 HWY around from Scottsdale heading west into Glendale. Once you get into that area, you will have signs directing you to the exit.

If you are going to the game during the week, you will run into commute traffic. expect to leave about an hour early. I recommend you eat at the arena. Not inside, but outside they have a lot of restaurants.

Hope you enjoy the weather. That's why we live there...well, my wife does. I hate the weather here in Chicago!


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Old
11-20-2008, 02:59 PM
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Thanks Head Coach !
Great advice !

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