Early Monday morning, the maintenance crew at STAPLES Center began preparing the ice for the upcoming 2015-’16 LA Kings season.
Once the LA Sparks wrapped up their WNBA contest on Sunday evening, the building was stripped down to it’s hockey skeleton – baring a blank concrete slab which will soon be supporting the Kings’ ice surface for the 15th time in the arena’s history.
We caught up with the building’s operations manager, George Rios, to get a quick rundown of the process that goes into building a fresh sheet of ice.
“This is our 15th year here making the ice; we’ve been open here since 1999. A lot of these guys who have been around our team, our operations team, they’ve been with us since the building first opened – they’ve had experience making ice for at least 15 seasons."
“To make the ice for the NHL season,” Rios said, “we use approximately 10,000 gallons of water within a three-day period.”
“We start off little by little, we start cooling down the building, it takes approximately 12 hours to cool the concrete slab – for us to make the ice, we need to get the slab down to 18 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the cooling process starts from the night before, our crew comes in at around 6:00 AM, we start spraying a thin layer of clear water – we call that sealing the concrete.”
“Then we spray with white paint, which is basically a powder mixed with water. Once we get that base down, that white layer, we seal that with clear water again.”
“Then we start the process of hand-painting all of the logos, all of the lines, all of that is hand painted, so it takes maybe a good 12 hours to paint all of that.”
“After that, we seal all of the logos and we spray clear water for two days continuously, just building the thickness of the ice – it has to come up to 1 inch to 1 ½ inches to reach NHL regulations. We only make ice once a year, and that same ice stays throughout the whole season.”
Of course, another year of installing the ice wouldn't be the same without Bailey burying his three lucky pennies under the center ice dot!
A handful of lucky fans, thanks to the Kings Care Foundation, got the chance to write their own personal messages on the blue-line before it was painted!
We're just three weeks away from preseason hockey at STAPLES Center!