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Hockey season just around the corner

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 08/17/2018 1:40 PM

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Arena staff Mike Pries (left) and Tim Field fire up the compressors at the T.G. Smith Centre as the arena ice-making process is underway..


Arena staff Mike Pries (left) and Tim Field fire up the compressors at the T.G. Smith Centre as the arena ice-making process is underway..


Despite record breaking temperatures reaching into the upper 30’s last weekend, summer is over at Steinbach’s Centennial Arena as the ice is going in for another season.

In the shortest turnaround in the more than 50-year history of the old barn, due to the Steinbach Pistons playing into mid-May in their multiple championship season, arena staff flipped on the switches on the ice plant at Centennial Arena on Friday, Aug. 10.

Mike Pries, Senior Manager- Parks and Arena Maintenance, says the ice-making takes about 7-10 days to complete. "We probably could have turned on the plant on Monday (Aug. 13) but because of the forecast of extreme heat on the weekend, we started it on Friday just to be sure."

He says the weekend heat didn’t affect us, "the start-up went well and the cooling down process went as expected, we could have started making ice Saturday afternoon."

This week the ice-making process was well underway and will be completed and ready for skating late next week.

When the Pistons won the ANAVET Cup in May, punching their ticket to the RBC Cup national championship in Chilliwack, city staff kept the ice at the arena for a few more days to allow the Pistons to skate prior to their departure for Chilliwack.

Pries said the plant was finally turned off on May 16, which was about a month later than most years.

As for the general maintenance at the arenas there have no major projects during this off-season other than a little painting, waxing of floors, general cleaning, etc.

Meanwhile, the T.G. Smith Centre will be getting a new Zamboni this year, replacing the ice-flooding machine that has been in use since 2005. Pries says like any vehicle or machine, it was starting to break down, repairs needed, and so a new one was ordered. It was ordered last January, and is custom made at the Brantford, Ont., plant. As a result the lead-time is about 10 months so the city expects to take delivery of the Zamboni possibly around November. The existing Zamboni will then be sold.

Pries says the new Zamboni will operate more efficiently. And it has a larger capacity meaning that in some instances both ice surfaces could be flooded without being emptied and re-filled with water.

With the ice at Centennial Arena ready for usage in about a week’s time, the arena is available for bookings beginning August 24. The Pistons Power Camp, for ages 7-12, will run from Aug. 27-31.

The Pistons will first take to the ice for their rookie camp beginning on Sept. 2.


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