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Time to go slushing -- ice build at CBP moves forward

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- With the glycol coolant circulating through the panels on the Winter Classic rink Friday morning, the next step in the ice build took place Friday afternoon: slushing.

Snow from an ice event at Wells Fargo Center was brought across the street here to Citizens Bank Park, where NHL Senior Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew turned it into slush and used it as a sealant on different parts of the rink surface.

"There's a couple reasons we have to slush," Craig told "In between the (ice) panels where the hoses are, there's a gap there that has to be closed up. We'll slush that in, it'll be frozen solid. Under the boards … these set of boards, like any other boards, are set for 42 inches. What everybody understands is that when we go outside on a temporary rink, we're two inches up, which means we have to lift the boards off these panels or off the deck three-quarters of an inch to an inch. So now we have a gap, which means that we slush underneath there and we let the pans freeze everything solid. Once that is all done, we start spraying our water and everything is held in place."

Craig said the temperature on the panels will be brought down to 36 degrees, and he believes it will take about two hours for the slush to freeze into place.

Workers use slush as a sealant on parts of the rink at Citizens Park Bank. (Photo: Adam Kimelman)
The slush wasn't the only thing going down on the ice. Two narrow cables with temperature gauges on them -- called Eye on the Ice -- were attached to the ice trays, and that will allow Craig to have real-time access to the temperature of the panels. It's the beginning of an ice-monitoring system that will allow Craig to know everything that's happening on the ice surface at any time.

"(Eye on the Ice) is a monitoring system we have that will tell us the temperature on the panels themselves," he said. "Once we build an inch of ice, we'll put another cable in which will give us the temperature an inch off the panel, and then I'll walk around with a hand-held infrared gun for temperature. It gives us all three parameters of what it is in the ice surface."

The slushing wasn't the only advancement in the work toward transforming the baseball stadium into the home of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Staging was built around the rink, the ramp for the Zamboni was built and the doors to let it onto the ice were attached. Work was completed on the broadcast platforms for the NBC and CBC game crews. And the penalty boxes, public-address announcer's booth and the player benches were laid into place.

And with the slush freezing into place, Craig remains on schedule for a Saturday morning start time to lay down the first drops of water that eventually will become the ice rink the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers will skate on when the puck drops Jan. 2.

"Everything is exactly where it needs to be," Craig said. "We're on a nice, patient pace."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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