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Ice Maintenance - Controlled Melt - Why do we do it?!

OCC.Arena.PictureOver the March break we were closed for 3 days while our Head Ice Technician (Scott Foster), Assistant Ice Technician (Kevin Mooney) and our ice team completed a 'Controlled Melt' to our ice surface.

There are two main reasons to melt the ice for maintenance purposes:

Eliminate Dirt & Impurities:

  • Despite the fact that we scrape the ice twice per day, there is still a significant amount of dirt, lint, hair, dust etc. that continuously accumulates on the ice surface, and some of that inevitably gets buried in the ice.
  • It also eliminates the many knee prints that unfortunately accumulate over time.
  • By melting the top quarter inch of ice, most of this dirt floats to the surface where it can be removed with the scraper.
  • Cleaner ice not only looks better, but it also improves the bond between the surface and the pebble, which helps the life of the pebble.

Level out the Surface:

  • The most important aspect of ice maintenance is to get the surface back to level.
  • However, sustaining a level surface is no easy task.
  • Every week the ice is pebbled approximately 45 times and scraped 14 times.
  • Even though we pay close attention to our pebbling techniques and the quality of our scraper blades, neither one is 100% perfect.
  • Therefore, both of these practices have an impact on the shape of the ice.
  • In addition to being level, we also want the surface to be flat.
  • Factors such as sublimation, expansion, temperature variations and air currents affect the flatness of the surface.
  • Though these subtle highs and lows are undetectable to the eye, the rocks will always find them.
  • The melts help even out these imperfections.

The March ice maintenance is extremely important to the quality of the ice for the homestretch of the season.  The last two months are very busy... The Left-handers World Championship, Kurl for Kids, Mixed Closing Spiel, and playoffs for Men's, WNL, and Mixed Leagues.

Thank you to Scott and his team for providing the best ice in Ontario!

(Article courtesy of the Day Women & Scott Foster).


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