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Fresh ice at Everett Arena as skating season opens Monday

  • Connor Bailey paints the red line at Everett Arena as Concord city employees prepare the ice on Thursday. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • Connor Bailey paints the red line on the ice at Douglas N. Everett Arena as Concord city employees prepare the ice on Thursday. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • Connor Bailey paints the red line on the ice at Everett Arena as Concord city employees prepare the ice on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • Scott Benoit sprays a mist of water over a new blue line on the ice at Everett Arena on Loudon Road in Concord on Thursday.



Monitor staff
Thursday, September 13, 2018

City employees were hard at work in the chilly confines of Douglas N. Everett Arena on Thursday, preparing the ice before the rink opens for public skating Monday.

Arena and Properties Manager Jeff Bardwell said work started Monday of this week, setting up the boards and glass that enclose the ice. The concrete floor beneath the ice is cleaned and a thin layer of ice – about an eighth of an inch – is put down as a base. The ice is painted white and a second layer is placed on top of that.

The next step is painting the lines for hockey, which is the stage that Bardwell and his crew were working on Thursday. Concord High hockey coach and rink manager Dunc Walsh worked at one end of the ice with Lee Turmelle, while Connor Bailey painted the center red line and Scott Benoit touched up the blue lines with a mist gun to lock in the frozen paint.

Careful precision is necessary to make the lines crisp and straight. But with public skating set to open in a few days, Bardwell said there is some urgency to get the job done.

“We’re not painting the Mona Lisa,” he joked.

The paint does not dry – it freezes, and it only takes a few moments to freeze after it touches the ice. When the lines are down, a second crew comes in to work at night and continues adding thin layers of water, fractions of an inch, before it is ready for skating.

Bardwell said, who has worked in the city for 15 years and has been in the rink management business for about 25 years, said the ice needs to be about 1 inch thick for skating, and they try to maintain about 1½ inches of ice throughout the season.

The rink is about 16,200 square feet (191 long, 85 feet across) and set at a temperature of about 16 degrees for painting. Salt water runs through about 10 miles of pipes beneath the concrete to keep the ice frozen. Salt water is used because it has a lower freezing temperature than the city water that is applied to the surface.

The rink houses a pair of 75-horsepower compressors that keep the salt water well below 32 degrees. This cools off the ice, which needs to be about 20 degrees for skating.

Aside from painting the lines, two Coca-Cola logos are added to the rink as well. They are the only on-ice advertisements, while other ads cover the boards around the ice as well as the walls of the arena. Bardwell said the arena gathered about $30,000 in advertising revenue last year.

The equipment shop located near the arena’s main entrance is being operated by the rink staff this year. TSR hockey moved out at the end of last season after its contract expired in March. The shop houses skate rentals – of which there are 170 new pairs available this season – as well as small equipment such as hockey tape and skate guards.

Public skating is open Monday through Friday beginning next week through March 12. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a $5 admission. Sunday is added to the schedule beginning Sept. 24 and runs 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday skating begins Oct. 13 and will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More information is available at concordnh.gov/496/everett-arena.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at nstoico@cmonitor.com.)