Monday, 15 February 2016

Linesmen Aren't Ice Crews

There is nothing worse than a delay in a game due to ice conditions for fans, players, and coaches. Fans want the action, players want to play, and coaches are forced to ride the waves of momentum that fluctuate throughout the game in order to gain an edge. When the ice isn't up to par, it literally forces all of those factors to reset once the ice has been restored. Normally, the officials are pretty quick with a water bottle and some ice chips to fill holes on the ice, but what happens when advertising on the ice causes a delay and the officials aren't really qualified to fix it?

I'll tell you what happens: the game is delayed for a long time. And in the case of Friday night's game at Eastlink Center in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, you certainly don't let the officials try to fix the ice problems.

Advertising that is embedded in the ice is normally about an inch below the ice surface to remain readable. As a player, I've never liked the idea of pre-printed advertisements sunk into the ice because they are a nightmare to deal with if they become exposed. As an aside, I know that one rink I played on as a youngster used red and blue tissue paper for the lines, and that was an absolute disaster if they became exposed because the paper didn't allow a skate to pass through or over it, and players were being tripped up every time they skated over the exposed section. That's why good ice crews paint the ice.

On Friday night during a game between the visiting Baie-Comeau Drakkar and the home team Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, one of the Eastlink logos inside the blue line became exposed. The officials, noticing the danger on the ice, blew the game dead and proceeded to see if they could repair the ice. The video below shows why ice crews should always be ready to go at a moment's notice in any game.
The first linesman with the scissors causes a problem because there will still be an exposed section of ice about an inch deep where he cuts the logo off. The two linesmen together completely ruin the ice inside the blue line by trying to pull the logo up from under the ice completely. You can see the two players from the Drakkar examining the edge of the hole in the ice, and Charlottetown's Blais joins them and they begin to try to shave the edge of the ice down and fill in the gap.

Hal MacDonald, the head ice maker at Eastlink Center, then proceeded to give hell to the officials once he made it on to the ice. The commentators on the call eat this up as MacDonald just lambastes the officials for their "repair" job, and MacDonald sends out the rest of the ice crew to see if they can do any better than the officials.

In the end, the game would be called with Charlottetown leading 5-2 with 4:30 to play in the third, and the decision was made by the QMJHL to award the win to Charlottetown. While I doubt that there will be a nod to the officials for their help in the decision thanks to their handiwork, I'm sure the Islanders will let the ice crew look after the ice from now on.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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