28 Oct How to make good ice
When the puck stays flat and the team and the officials are happy you are off to a good start! Looking at it a bit more objectively, good skating ice creates a small amount of fine powdered snow and the lines are easily visible and transparent. The ice should not be exposed to large temperature differences or excess humidity and be thick enough but not too thick with as few high and low spots as possible. Here are a few more measures to help improve the quality of the ice.
7 steps to make good ice!
- Remove micro air bubbles from the floodwater
- Run the ice between 1 ¼” and 1 ½.
- Dry-shave the ice in the morning
- Keep a steady pace when resurfacing the ice
- Keep the blade sharp and the towel clean
- Check the humidity and maintain it at optimal levels
- Close doors and dasher boards
1. Remove micro air bubbles from floodwater
Traditionally the floodwater is heated to 140-160F to remove micro air bubbles. Instead, when using a rink-de-aerator – air bubbles can passively be removed through pressure. This method of treating the resurfacing water results in harder, smoother ice that requires less maintenance. Through the absence of the micro-bubbles, the ice will be clearer and lines and logos will be visible through it. With a specially designed nozzle, water gets sprayed on the ice in a fine mist that freezes quickly as it impacts the ice. By using this technique the ice is laminated in thin layers.
2. Run the ice between 1 ¼” and 1 ½.
Running the ice between 1 ¼” and 1 ½ seems to be the optimal amount of ice to ensure that there is enough ice but also not too much. If the ice is too thick it will dramatically impact the cooling efficiency of the rink’s refrigeration equipment. The thicker the ice and concrete, the harder it is for the chillers to maintain the required ice surface temperature. This also means that the applied floodwater will not be able to freeze in time and evenly across the rink and impact the quality of the ice.
3. Dry-shave the ice in the morning
Dry shaving the ice in the morning will cut off the ruts in the ice, increase the clarity and reduce the amount of water used throughout the day. It will also help to maintain the optimal ice thickness (1 ¼” and 1 ½) and reduce the load on the rink’s refrigeration equipment.
4. Keep a steady pace when resurfacing the ice
Resurfacing an NHL rink requires 8-10 minutes and an Olympic size arena 10-12 minutes. Operators should keep a steady pace when they are out on the ice with the ice resurfacing machine. It is important not to put down too much water along the boards to prevent the ice from building up too high. Going over creases turn off the water and raise the blade. Once past the crease, turn the water on again and lower the blade. Use wash water if it is available. At the end of a flood ensure a 5-minute window before the next user group is scheduled to be on the ice.
5. Keep the blade sharp and the towel clean
A sharp blade is an absolute must and standard practice for ice making. The ice needs to be shaved with each ice clean.
Shaving the ice will cut out the ruts and ensure the ice in your rink remains clear. Keep an eye on the towel of the machine. Is it clean or full of rust spots? A clean towel makes a big difference to your ice quality.
6. Check the humidity and maintain it at optimal levels
Humidity in the ice rink has a big impact on the quality of the ice. If the humidity is high in the rink, the ice surface becomes rugged and produces a lot of snow. Optimal humidity for an ice rink is between 50-55%, this is especially important when you have a large crowd. The resurfacing water that is applied to the ice surface plays a big role. Hot floodwater will add more humidity to the arena. If the floodwater is treated and the micro air bubbles are removed passively, the level of humidity is lowered.
7. Close doors and dasher boards
An ice sheet in a rink is designed just like a refrigerator, when the dasher boards are open, it allows the heat to enter the ice. This will make the ice softer and impact the ice quality. Open doors to the outside have the same effect, but in addition, makes it much harder to control the humidity levels inside the arena.
Looking to reduce costs in your rink? Check out: 20 ways to reduce costs in your arena