“Mr. Flip-It” Handles Several Conversions at EIA in One Week

Erie Insurance Arena is many things — home to the Erie Otters, Erie Explosion and Erie BayHawks, a host for national touring artists and family performances, plus a place where residents and visitors can come enjoy a night out in downtown Erie. One thing the Arena isn’t is…boring! During a five day span this week, from Wednesday through Sunday, there are two basketball games, two hockey games and a football game happening under the same roof — which isn’t out of the ordinary. The man in charge of making sure the correct playing surfaces are down at the right time is Rick Balsiger, the building maintenance superintendent. Before the Otters landed a spot in the playoffs, this week would have only consisted of basketball games Wednesday and Saturday nights with the Erie Explosion season opener on Sunday. That seems like a lot, but after adding in two hockey games, that three-event week was nothing. The process of changing surfaces from basketball to hockey to football happens overnight. As soon as one event wraps up, crews are at the Arena getting ready for the next day event. On average, there are about 20 employees who help transform the Arena, but could take up to 26 workers depending on what event is taking place. It takes about 8 hours for the full conversion to take place. Under Rick’s watch, a 16 year employee for Erie Events, the process goes smoothly and each event playing surface is ready for each respective team. Keep in mind, this busy week comes after 900 wrestlers competed in a two-day PA Jr. Wrestling State Championship event. It’s safe to say Rick is “Mr. Flip-It!”

basketball court court and chairs


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