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Rink preparations begin at Citizens Bank Park

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- The first steps in the rink build for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic were taken Monday morning, as the installation began of the armor decking to protect the field at Citizens Bank Park.
Approximately 61,000 square feet of the decking will be installed by a crew from Toronto-based BaAM Productions, headed by project manager Chris Dowling.


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"This product is designed for military purposes," Dowling told "It locks together with a cam fitting so it's locked in horizontally and vertically, in both planes. So when the equipment drives over it, it has a rating of about 150,000 pounds per square foot. So it's used for much heavier-duty purposes than what we're using it for -- for tanks, for cranes, for the whole deal. We use it for fork lifts, Zambonis, other equipment. It's also used for pedestrian access. It's easier to walk on than it is to walk on the field."
When completed, the decking will ring the ballpark's warning traffic, come out under the temporary seating and broadcast positions that will be erected in center field and be the path the players walk from the dugouts to the rink. The only area that won't be covered is where the actual rink will go.
"We're trying to get it all done in two, 10-hour days," said Dowling. "We have 20 men laying the floor, plus supervision and fork lift traffic -- a total of 400 man hours."
This is the fourth year BaAM has taken this role at the Winter Classic, so they have their system perfected. However, there is a bit of a wrinkle this year.
Dowling said at the request of the Phillies, a heavier-duty decking material will be installed for the path the Zamboni will take. That means there will be about 10,000 square feet of the heavier-duty decking, combined with about 51,000 square feet of the other type of decking.
"The route for the Zamboni to go to the rink is a slightly heavier product," said Dowling. "What's going to go down on the rest of the field, on the warning track, it's still a heavy-duty product, but not as robust. … We would normally use the same product for the whole field, but given their request, we were able to do a hybrid system."
Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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