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Laying the foundation for another season

Friday, 08.25.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Ottawa Senators
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Laying the foundation for another season
Scotiabank Operations employee Chad Baroud paints one of the bluelines during ice installation at Scotiabank Place on Thursday. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC

by Todd Anderson

The operations crew at Scotiabank Place was busy this week installing the ice in preparation for another Senators season. It's a sign that the 2006-07 campaign is just around the corner.

"This is a 12- to 17-hour process," says operations manager Tim Swords. "Our custodial crew scrubbed the slab (arena floor) Wednesday night and soaked it with water to hydrate it. Afterwards, the engineering crew turned on the refrigeration system. We need the slab to reach a temperature to where the water freezes. This morning it was 17 F and ready to go."

Bolts are screwed into the slab at the centre of each faceoff dot to help ease the painting of those areas later on. The operations crew then paints the entire slab white and sprays three to four layers of water over it as a seal.

A paint stick - a long rod with a brush at one end and a hose that feeds from the brush to a canister of paint - is used to create the faceoff circles. A string attached near the brush at the bottom of the stick is hooked onto the bolt in the slab. Crew members extend the string to its full length and then walk with the brush on the slab to ensure a perfect circle is painted.

For straight bluelines, the centre red line and goal lines, two strings are lined up with the outer edge of the lines marked on the boards. Water is sprayed on the strings to freeze them in place and crew members paint between them.

Stencils are used to trace the outlines of logos.

"It's like paint-by-number after that," Swords says.

Logos in the ice may be removed, if required. To do this, the ice must be scraped down past the level of the logo, so it is removed. The area is flooded again to bring it back to level. Logos are always readable from the north end of Scotiabank Place because that's where most television cameras are located.

Unlike some NHL teams who use lay-ins for their logos, Scotiabank Place staff opts to hand-paint theirs.

"We like hand-painting because the logos show up better through the ice," Swords says, adding the same Senators centre-ice logo has been used for the last 10 years, except when a special logo was used to commemorate the Sens 10th season.

Once all the painting is done, the surface is flooded manually throughout the evening to bring the ice up to the required level. In order for the water to freeze after each flood, a 30- to 40-minute wait is required. Typically, the Scotiabank Place ice is 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick for hockey events.

For concert events, four to six hours are required to convert the arena, depending on the show. When events require just the installation of a floor - and not the removal of the boards and glass - conversion takes only about 45 minutes. The floor is insulated and keeps the ice surface cool.

The entire ice installation process tests the physical condition of staff members points out Swords.

"The guys can't kneel or sit on the slab because the ice is to thin and they'll melt it with their body heat. It's labour intensive, so I definitely encourage them to stretch before."




1 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
2 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
3 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
4 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
5 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
6 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
7 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
8 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


E. Karlsson 56 11 51 7 62
B. Ryan 55 19 26 -3 45
M. Hoffman 52 24 19 4 43
M. Stone 54 17 25 -13 42
M. Zibanejad 55 11 22 -3 33
K. Turris 50 13 17 -12 30
J. Pageau 56 13 10 4 23
Z. Smith 55 12 5 4 17
C. Ceci 49 5 11 -2 16
C. Lazar 51 5 10 1 15
C. Anderson 22 18 4 .914 2.84
A. Hammond 3 6 2 .899 3.10