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These ice sculptures are totally hot

Friday, 01.23.2009 / 10:00 AM / 2009 NHL All-Star Game

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

MONTREAL -- It was only five months ago that Paul Conway and Cameron Smith were trying to determine what innovative scheme they could conjure up for fans and players to enjoy during 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend.

That final product was unveiled to an awe-struck public on Thursday at the Lay's NHL All-Star Jamboree across from Bell Centre and Windsor Station in Montreal.

Lining the sidewalk alongside the huge tent that houses the Jamboree are the jerseys of each of the NHL's 30 NHL teams, each encased in its own block of ice that measures 7-feet-tall and 12 inches thick. Conway, Smith and Toronto sculpture Mike Muli call their creation, "Frozen Moment."

"Five months ago we started work on this so in the world of big time events, this was a pretty quick turnaround and I think a pretty heroic, over-the-top, super-hero type display that the fans are going to go nuts over," said Smith, the owner and creative director of the company that assisted in the building of the ice sculptures, Infinite Scale Design.

"Each block of ice has one of the member club jerseys frozen in and on the side of each block there's that team's flag so fans can quickly identify their favorite team," said Conway, the design director for the NHL. "Each year, we try to work up our décor plan and have some type of reflection of the city we are in and kind of play into the architecture and surrounding areas. This year, being in Montreal and celebrating the Centennial, we wanted to do something extra special. We feel this display is very special because it captures that and is done in a way that's never been done before. People haven't seen anything quite like this."

The ice is different than what you would normally pull out of your freezer as air was continually circulated through the water during the freezing process. This enabled the ice to freeze clear and, following a polishing by Muli, each block was individually wrapped and delivered like any other product you would find on an 18-wheeler rolling down the highway.

"It took Mike five, 17-hour days to complete them," Smith said. "I think for the Canadiens and being one of the oldest and prestigious clubs in the League, we needed something for this event that was the culmination of their history so I think it's pretty significant that we unveiled the sculptures during All-Star Weekend.

"I've worked on a lot of events and I think we've done something pretty special here in conjunction with the real-time imagery (of the jersey) we're incorporating here. Not one player or team is being singled out with these sculptures, yet, we're still celebrating the Canadiens' great history through these pieces."

Smith's company, incidentally, also did work for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He was one of two lead art directors for the look of the Games.

"Describing it just doesn't do it justice," Conway said. "The sculptures are going to be a big photo hit and people are going to be stopping and checking it out and touching the ice. It's really neat because you can circle 360-degrees around each block. People will be amazed. A lot of hard work went into creating them and we feel the fans are going to be really pleased."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com.