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Ice Ready in OKC

by Josh Evans / Edmonton Oilers
Crews put the finishing touches on the lines & ice surface at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Steven Christy Photography)   View Photo Gallery

With the Barons first game just over three weeks away, a key piece of the puzzle was put in place: the ice surface at the Cox Convention Center.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on September 14, the crew from the Cox Convention Center began putting thin coats of water down to the already chilled floor.  Four coats of fine mist later, the crew was ready to add the coats of a mixture of white paint and water which give the ice that familiar brightness for optimal viewing.

Shortly after lunch, the crew began centering lines, preparing to paint the red line, bluelines, goal creases and faceoff circles.  By 7 p.m., the lines and circles were in place, the sponsor logos had been frozen into the ice and the surface was ready to begin the slow build of thickness to ready the surface to be played upon.

Ordinarily, this process is no different in Oklahoma City than in any other city that has a professional hockey team.  However for this ice-making, there were two new factors in play for crews at the Cox Convention Center.  First, this was the first full sheet of ice made by the new chilling system installed.  This system was delivered July 15 and weighed in at a robust 49,000 pounds.  

The second was the presence of Dan Craig, the NHL Director of Facilities and Operations.  Craig is deemed the “ice guru” for the National Hockey League.  After a career in Edmonton building what has been widely regarded as the best ice in the NHL, Craig went on to provide a similar service for the NHL’s 30 teams.  As the NHL’s Facility Operations Manager, he has been involved with the installation of ice at key events such as each of the NHL Winter Classic Games, NCAA Frozen Four and the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (2002), Torino (2006) and Vancouver (2010).

The ice will have a few test runs with teams from the Oklahoma City Youth Hockey Association playing a few games on it.  The real test begins September 27 when the Barons open their training camp at the Cox Convention Center.  Training camp is open to the public and starts at 10 a.m.

Author: Josh Evans | Oklahoma City Barons
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