A Day in the Life: Operations Manager of Erie Insurance Arena

The Otter’s training camp is underway! This means the event season will start soon and games will be played.

Before any skating can happen, the ice needs to be made, and that’s what the arena staff worked on last week in preparation for the (hopefully) long season to come.

Monday: Arena staff picks basketball floor up (the floor was re-finished on August 18th), glass around rink is installed, ice floor is cleaned

Tuesday: The floor is cleaned again, the last pieces of glass are installed, final check of supplies for making the ice

Wednesday: For the final time the floor is cleaned, any contamination may negatively impact the ice for the entire season, it’s better to clean it many times to make sure the surface is as clean as possible. The chiller system is also started to start lowering the temperature of the concrete so we can make ice on Thursday.

Thursday: The day for ice building has come! As the floor temperature is moving towards about 10° F, the crew is sealing where the dashers meet the concrete. We do this with drywall tape and a backpack sprayer. This way when it’s time to take the ice out, the water doesn’t run out along the floor and into our storage areas keeping everything safe and dry. After the dasher system is sealed and the floor temperature is low enough, we start laying water down with a 10’ spray head. We lay in three trips aroud the ice about 1/32” of ice. We then do three more trips with the spray nozzle, except we use white paint specially formulated to withstand the temperature demands of the ice. After the ice is painted white, we lay three more coats of water down. Once we have those nine layers of water down, the crew starts the process of putting the lines in place for the season. A string is run from dasher to dasher and a crepe paper like material is laid on the ice and then a gentle mist of water from a back pack sprayer is applied to freeze the lines in place. We also lay out the logos that will be in the ice and start applying water to them the same way we did for the lines.

Once all of this is done we bring the large spray nozzle back out and start laying water down a little at a time until we get to at least 1/2”, if not more. Once we hit that depth, we can safely bring the Zamboni out and put water on the ice to get it to a depth of about 1 ¼”- 1 ½”.


Ice-making facts:

  • The cooling system uses approximately 12 miles of piping embedded within the concrete floor to maintain the ice surface.
  • A reverse osmosis system is utilized to remove any impurities from the water that is used to make the ice
  • It takes approximately 12,730 gallons of water to make 1” of ice

To watch the crew make the ice, go to our Facebook page and watch the video: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erie-Events/128482433829533?sk=videos

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