Home Ice Wins

On-Ice Team: Ice Manager Jim Brundage holding the Commissioner's Cup, won by the Danbury Hat Tricks.

Home Ice Wins


It’s been a winning year for Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, CT. Its professional ice hockey team, the Danbury Hat Tricks, is one of 11 teams that make up the Federal Prospects Hockey League. On Sunday, they edged out the Carolina Thunderbirds on home ice in an exciting Game 5 overtime duel to win the Commissioner’s Cup. It’s their first championship in franchise history.

REALice: Utility costs are down 30%


It’s not the only big win for Danbury Ice Arena this year. In June, with the help of incentives from Eversource Energy, they installed a REALice water treatment system for the twin pad facility. REALice, a 3D-printed de-aerator from Sweden, uses pressure instead of temperature to deliver floodwater at a lower viscosity and higher density. It basically acts like hot water without the expense of heating it. By switching to REALice-treated water to maintain the ice, Ice, and Facility Manager Jim Brundage says it’s saving the facility 30% less each month in utility costs compared to when they flooded with hot water. That’s another big win for the arena.

The Best Ice in Malmö, Sweden


Malmo Arena in 2018 – photo courtesy of Jim Brundage

Brundage first laid eyes on a REALice system in Sweden at the Malmö Arena. The City of Malmö is, coincidently, the home Watreco AB‘s vortex process technology that includes REALice, distributed worldwide by H2OVortex s.a.r.l.; the Malmö Arena was an early adopter. They also boast having “the best ice in Malmö from early August until late March“.

Good Looking Ice


Håkan Grönlund (left) with Jim Brundage at Danbury Ice Arena

“Being an arena guy, I’m always interested in how other rinks operate,” he explained to Håkan Grönlund, CEO of H2OVortex during a recent meeting. “I’d bought a ticket for the hockey game and asked the folks at the box office if I could hang out with the operations team. The ice at the Malmö Arena looked really good, and I wanted to know how they did it. They took me back to the flood room and showed me the setup and explained it to me. I was intrigued.”

No Hot Water Floods


“Malmö Arena has never seen any hot water floods since it opened in 2008,” explains Grönlund. “That’s 15 years without the expense of not just heating the floodwater, but also the refrigeration plant in removing the heat from the floodwater once it hits the ice to get it to freeze. That’s a big saving for any arena, just like they’re seeing in Danbury.”

The main rink at the Danbury Ice Arena




Brundage says he had butterflies when he got on the ice resurfacing machine right before that overtime win.

“Before that overtime period, they had their regular 16-minute intermission. I hopped on the machine, cut the ice and it was frozen by the time they got back on, which is what you want from the ice,” Brundage explains. “The Hat Tricks dug down deep and found what they needed, scored that overtime goal, and then the party began!”


Brundage says the ice got trashed pretty well after the win. Confetti got down into whatever cut marks were there — champagne too. Afterward, Brundage and the on-ice team edged hard and shaved deep, taking three loads of snow off the ice and now building it back up. Just because the season is finished for the Hat Tricks, it’s far from over for the Danbury Ice Arena.

“In two weeks we have the Pre-Draft Camp for the Jr. Hat Tricks, our NAHL team (North American Hockey League – Tier II Junior),” Brundage explains. “Patrik Stefan will be back to coach. Those kids will be on the ice 4-6 hours a day.”

“The ice will take a beating, and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”