Saturday, 9 November 2019

More Than An Oops

The image above is from last night's WHL game between the visiting Swift Current Broncos and the host Regina Pats. Clearly, the blue paint shouldn't be covered in another colour, so something went wrong at the Brandt Centre last night. The end result was that the game between the Broncos and Pats had to be cancelled. Oops.

According to reports, the rink attendant was using a drill to drill the holes for the moorings following the resurfacing of the rink. It was during this drilling of those mooring holes that the liquid in question began to surface from the hole and flood the ice surface. So what went wrong, you ask? Let's dig into how some rink science.

Beneath the rink surface in every rink are lines that pump brine water through them. The calcium-chloride brine water has a lower freezing temperature than water - normally set to 16F or -9C - so the brine water acts as a coolant for the ice on top of it. As the ice freezes, the brine water pipes keep the ice frozen in relation to the temperature above it, essentially freezing the layers of ice from the bottom up to keep everything frozen as players skate on it, fall on it, and occasionally lie on it.

The Brandt Center was built in 1977, so it has brine piping running under the ice above the concrete floor, and it seems that the rink attendant may have drilled the mooring hole a little too deep, puncturing the brine pipe below the goal. The result was the brine pumping out of the pipe and up the hole onto the ice surface above. This isn't the first time something like this has happened in a hockey rink, but one would expect a WHL team to have rink attendants that would know not to drill deep into the ice.

The good news is that Regina doesn't have another home game until November 16, so there's more than enough time to melt the ice, repair the pipe, and get everything back up and running for their game against Prince Albert. This mistake is a costly one when one considers the dollars and cents that goes into making these repairs, and I'm sure there will be some training sessions instituted for all rink attendants going forward.

There has been no announcement as to when the Broncos and Pats will make up this game, but I have a feeling that there will be zero ice issues going forward at the Brandt Centre for the remainder of the season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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