Build it and they will come.
Over the past couple of weeks, South Dundas manager of parks and recreation, Donnie Lewis and his crew have been busy building ice at the Morrisburg Arena.
Monday night, (September 10) members of the Morrisburg and District Figure Skating Club were the first to give it a whirl, followed by players of the South Dundas Minor Hockey Association.
“We started the plant on Monday, August 27th, and I was making ice by the weekend (September long weekend),” Lewis told The Leader, Friday morning.
By Tuesday, August 28 the valve involved with the elimination of air in the lines was wide open, which began the process of cooling the floor. By Wednesday, the 29th, the “floor was at 18º F”.
“Thursday, we started flooding with half inch garden hose,” and from then on it was full steam (ice) ahead. Over the long weekend, Lewis flooded three times per day.
On Tuesday, September 4, the hockey lines were put down, and then it was back to the garden hose for flooding.
The Zamboni saw its first action on Wednesday and “by Thursday, (September 6) we had one inch of ice.”
Over this past weekend, Lewis planned to continue to flood with the Zamboni with the intent to have 1.25 inches of ice for Monday night’s official startup.
Throughout the season, he says the optimum ice thickness is 1.50 inches. “We monitor it weekly by drill tests, drilling 23 holes at various locations.”
Lewis says he likes to keep the ice at one and one half inches, “because that gives you fast ice. Anything past that and the ice gets too slow.”
According to Lewis, thanks to new technology and the changes made to the arena roof and insulation several years ago, the process of putting the ice in, in the fall, does not take nearly as long. “With everything being new it doesn’t take very long.”
With the better insulation and technology the process is no longer at the mercy of the weather as it was years ago.
“We are actually ahead of schedule this year,” said a pleased Lewis.
The figure skaters and minor hockey used the ice Monday night and the Junior B Lions were to have their first practice Tuesday night (September 11).
“The Juniors are scheduled to open their home schedule on Sunday, September 16 against the Winchester Hawks.”
“Everything ran smooth this year, just like peanut butter,” said Lewis. “We had no problems even though it was very hot. Years ago we’d have never made ice with that weather. We were flooding every 30 to 45 minutes initially and the floor never got over 24ºF. That’s good.”