When the Georgia Ice Dogs took the ice for practice following the South Carolina vs Citadel game on Thursday night in the Savannah Civic Center, they found pucks and skates sticking onto paint.
“We found out that they just tried to build up the ice from the public skating they held over the holidays,” Georgia assistant coach Steve Beneke explained. “It didn’t work very well.”
The ice level wasn’t built up on top of the white base paint nor to sufficiently cover the lines painted on the ice for hockey, and following the ice was resurfaced following the first game of the Hockey Classic the paint was exposed.
“They shaved too much ice off, and didn’t flood like they should have to build up the ice level,” assistant coach Chris Copelli remarked.
Copelli worked at the Atlanta IceForum while attending UGA, and coach Beneke previously worked for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
Head Coach John Hoos praised Beneke and Copelli after seeing the ice conditions for their practice.
“We had to essentially keep our practice in the middle of the ice because there was no ice in the corners or behind the goal lines.”
And civic center staff was nowhere to be found, but that didn’t stop the Georgia coaches from taking charge.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for Steve and Chris hockey could not have been played on Friday.”
The Georgia coaches found hoses and buckets and proceeded to flood the end zones of the ice and pack snow and slush around the boards where 3-4 inch gaps exposed the concrete floor.
“They were at the arena until 5 a.m. working on that ice. They deserve a ton of credit. Pretty amazing.”
Beneke and Copelli advised the civic center staff when they arrived Friday morning how to properly flood the ice to build upon the work they did overnight, and by the Friday night games hockey was played and the Hockey Classic went on without a glitch without most of the 11,000 fans and other teams knowing that the tournament was saved by a couple of coaches in Red & Black .