|A "COOL" SUMMER JOB|
|Wednesday, 25 July 2012 12:19|
Below is an article from the Cottage Country Now.ca. Thanks to them and the writer, Neil Etienne.
A number of ice makers have to try to do this in the heat of the summer. Ottawa's Jon Wall just returned from making ice at the North Bay Curling Club for their summer spiel. Ontario ice maker, Darren Sinclair, is now in the USA making ice for a summer event down there.
The ice man cometh
ICE MAN. Since last Saturday town crews have installed the hockey rink inside Gravenhurst Centennial Centre. Seth Vogan then took over and created the surface this weekend’s curling tournament will be held on. Photo by Neil Etienne
Inside the centennial centre, things will be heating up as well, although only because it’s much cooler there these days. The annual summer curling tournament the centre has hosted for the past 21 years, even during the last two years of construction, is set to go.
It’s not an easy task to make things perfect for curling in what is an obvious off-season, but the high heat has actually helped this year a bit. Wayne Hodgson, with the town’s recreation services, explained thanks to it being a dry heat, the ice cured fairly well since staff began laying it down Saturday, July 14.
“Compared to the last three years it’s not been nearly that bad,” he said.
Four portable dehumidifiers and two fixed wall units are chugging away to reduce the arena’s moisture. The ice plant worked equally as hard to get ice in this past week for the tournament that began last night (July 19) and runs through until Saturday evening.
Hodgson explained that in order to create the perfect curling rink in the hockey arena, he and his staff get to work first. Since Saturday, flooding, line and logo painting has all taken place to get the hockey ice ready for events and hockey camps coming up later this month.
But how does a smooth, hockey-ready rink convert into a pebbled curling rink?
“We get our hockey ice all done and ready then get out of the way and let Seth do his work,” Hodgson explained.
Seth Vogan, the “ice man” for several Muskoka-area curling clubs, including those in Huntsville and Gravenhurst, comes in once the hockey ice is ready. He explained he then sets about building up more ice on top of the hockey surface.
Within layers of curling ice, he must first white out faceoff circles and blue-lines and layer in the curling guides, hacks and houses.
“All told it’s about 50 hours of work,” Vogan explained, adding as well as playing in the tournament for the past 16 years, he’s been in charge of its ice setup the past six. “But unlike the curling clubs where I have five weeks to prepare, when I come in here, I have five days.”
By late Wednesday he had five curling rinks installed overtop of the hockey rink. “I still have the bulk of the work ahead of me,” he added.
Prior to the first curling rock being thrown last night around 6 p.m., he had to finish off the ice base and get to pebbling the surface, almost all of it done by hand.
“And I’m a one-man show,” he added, saying he loves his job creating the first ice of the season. “The only thing is the prep takes longer than they’ll use it.”
During the tournament, which features almost 50 teams from across the region and province in four draws, he’ll be working the ice and re-pebbling between matches as well as once the last draws are made each day. When the tournament ends Saturday, he’ll be right back at the ice with the centennial centre crews, using the ice resurfacer to scrape down his approximately two inches of ice to the 1 1/2 inches the hockey rink typically uses.
“It’s a slow process, but we scrape the curling rink off, re-expose the hockey ice then just reflood and make sure it’s ready to go,” Hodgson said.