November/December 2015

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40 / NOVEMBER.DECEMBER.2015 RINKMAGAZINE.COM O n any single game night, an ice resurfacer is capable of removing up to 2,000 pounds of snow from a sheet of ice. That number takes a giant leap from October through mid-March, with tournaments being played at rinks across the nation. And more games means more snow in the snow pits. While the method of dumping the snow gathered into an ice pit is a common practice at nearly all facilities and arenas, during tournament time the pit can become overwhelmed. The traditional exercise of using some of the heat that comes off of the rink's compression system and runs by the piping into the pit doesn't melt the snow fast enough. If that snow and ice doesn't melt, an iceberg is created. Then what? Mike Mulhall, who runs the two-sheet Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina, and his staff found an innovative solution. With a pit 10' deep at EIC, the staff used to have to chop away at it to try and get it to dissolve. A process that became very tedious. "It can take a while trying to make it dissolve," Mulhall said. About six to eight months ago, Mulhall came across the Kasco De-Icer/Water Circulator. The device, commonly used around boats in docks or piers, is a small motor with a propeller, suspended in water by an anchor within the pit. It then pushes the warmer water at the bottom of the pit to the surface to prevent or eliminate ice formation. "It's a simple thing," Mulhall said. "The unit itself is about 1'×1'×1'. It's got a little cage around the propeller and it suspends in the pit. When the snow dumps in, this thing kicks on and it agitates the water and breaks up the snow." Whereas Mulhall and the employees at EIC used to worry about buildup within the pit, all is solved with the flick of a switch. The time needed to melt the ice is lightning quick compared to the old process. "We can have cuts going on in both sides of the building," Mulhall said. "It's basically 10–15 minutes and it's back to water." Not only does the de-icer save the employees a lot of time and energy, it's very inexpensive, costing Mulhall a mere $525. Kasco originally designed the product to help marinas protect equipment in the water during harsh Minnesota winters, but it is now also serving rinks across the country. For a facility that sees so many game- changers on the ice, this is a big one off of it. Never again will the staff at EIC have to worry about snow buildup or dumping it outside if the aforementioned iceberg forms in the pit. "For our sake, it saves a ton of labor," Mulhall said. "It's made a world of a difference." EIC hosts all levels of hockey, from the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers, to local college teams and youth levels. No matter how much snow buildup happens, the de-icer can handle it all. J A Glacier-Sized Solution Extreme Ice Center utilizes innovative snow removal technology "FOR OUR SAKE, IT SAVES A TON OF LABOR. IT'S MADE A WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE." PHOTO: RINK MAGAZINE RINK ISSUES Clearing the snow pit by MILES MCQUINN

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