Back during the summer for my weekly stats segment on the show I talked about what it takes to put in new ice at the Bridgestone Arena since they were installing the ice that the team was to start the season with in early October. That ice was removed on Tuesday (1/22), after the St. Louis game, because the circus was coming to town.
Once the circus left on Sunday (1/27) the crew got busy installing the ice that will be in place to the end of the season, hopefully that is through the end of June ending with the Preds lifting up the Stanley Cup.
With 36 to 48 hours of work ahead of them they cleared out all the dirt and anything else that was left over by the animals before they started to lower the floor temperature. Once it was down to 15 degrees they put down a base layer of water and let it freeze. Next up were four coats of Super White paint and then two to three more layers of water. That was all done leading up to yesterday (Tuesday, 1/29).
That is when I, along with some other fans, was invited to come to the arena to help further paint the ice. They split us up into four groups; two painted the goal creases while the other two painted the blue lines. I was one of the groups that got to paint the one of the blue lines. So after putting on some stylish shoe booties and being informed that if we fell on the ice we owed the crew a case of beer we headed to the line nearest the visitors bench.
While we were painting the blue lines the ice crew worked on laying out the rest of the details on the ice, like the faceoff circles, sponsor logos, centerline, and Preds logo. The interesting fact about the sponsor logos, centerline, and Preds logo is that those are not painted on. They are actually fabric that is laid out and then they spray water over them to freeze them into place.
After a couple hours of sliding along the ice on pieces of cardboard we finished our line and were on our way out. The painting was not really labor extensive, though you do get cold and have to remember what your grade school teachers taught you about painting/coloring inside the lines (which for us were two strings), but it was an experience that I won’t soon forget. I will also get to point out to friends for the rest of the season that I got to paint that line, hopefully Ryan Suter will fall skating over it and I can then take credit for that also.
Now that the all the logos and paint are in place the crew will work overnight using an oversized paint sprayer with a mixture of paint and water for 10-12 hours before they start running the Zamboni’s. By the time they finish and before anyone hits the ice the ice/paint thickness will be 1¼ to 1½ of an inch.
I’d like to thank the Predator organization, namely my ticket rep Courtney and the Predators President/Chief Operating Officer Sean Henry, for giving me the opportunity to do this.
- Total Gallons of Water used – Approximately 11,000
- # of gallons of pained used – 23 Gallons (~ 4 gallons of blue paint alone for the blue lines)
- # of hours to build ice – 36-48 hours
*Photos courtesy of Sean Henry