AN ICE RINK IN ATHENS?
By: Tyler Farmer
By any stretch, Athens, Georgia is not a stereotypical location for an ice rink. Believe it or not, Akins Ford Arena is normally a ballroom! How do you put an ice rink in a ballroom? I went to the Classic Center to witness the installation firsthand, and it is truly a fascinating process to go from an empty ballroom to hockey ready venue. In its entirety, the transformative process is made up of ten steps
- A containment layer is created by using a tarp, similar to what you would see at a baseball game during a rain delay, to prevent water from getting on the ballroom floor.
- Numerous rectangular pieces of foam are laid down to allow the rink to withstand the weight of the Zamboni.
- Another tarp is used to create the rink line and prevent leaks.
- The elements are put down. The elements are long metal pieces that create the rink frame and allow the water to freeze through the connected hoses.
- Water is sprayed, and it takes about 24 hours to freeze.
- The boards are installed.
- A golf cart is used to crack the ice a little bit to test the overall strength of the ice and check for weak points.
- The vinyl lines and goalie creases are laid down.
- The glass is installed.
- The bleachers, concourse, and locker rooms are set up.
Did You Know?
- Step 2 requires over 500 pieces of foam!
- In total, 52 elements are used, and each element is about 100 feet long
- A Zamboni resurfaces the ice by cutting off the top layer and putting down warm water. The warm water melts the ice, which quickly refreezes, to create the shiny finish.
- Glycol, basically antifreeze, is used to keep the tubes cold to help the water freeze faster. The Glycol is kept at around 15 degrees.
- The entire process takes about four days, and it takes two days to convert the rink back into a ballroom.
- The rink will be put down and removed four times throughout the season.
Below is a video overview of the entire build process from start until finish.