Monday, February 14, 2011

Pink = Good in 2011!

This past "Pink In The Rink" weekend was certainly good for our Cyclones! Perhaps a corner has been turned. I have to say I like the trades. I hate to lose the guys we lost but as mentioned in a prior post, we have to believe. The coach's job is to do what he thinks he has to do in order to win hockey games, playoff series, and ultimately championships. Leadership often involves making difficult decisions; it is a burden for leaders to bear.

Friday night I think Florida had a bit of a sloppy game but the Cyclones were definitely firing on all cylinders. Saturday the Cyclones faced some adversity but still managed to control the game and win. The new guys certainly contributed, and brought some new skills and elements to the game. That's what good trades do. I sincerely hope the guys we lost do the same for the other teams and advance their own careers.

We can all see these observations, and may have different opinions. As the Cyclones Insider I strive to bring what you do not see - and I love to champion the work of the behind-the-scenes guys. Promotions like paining the ice are a big deal. Here is a glimpse inside what it is like to put it on.

The actual pink coloring is a resin like the white paint ice base. It is mixed with water and formulated to not insulate so it has minimal effect on the quality of the ice. It is applied in the same manner as the white. The resin is mixed in a 100 gallon barrel mounted on a wheel cart. Also on the cart is a water pump powered by a gasoline engine and a reel of 1" diameter rubber hose. The mixed resin is pumped through the hose to a "wand" made of brass with misting spray atomizers, similar to the sprayers over produce in the grocery.

The wand is dragged backwards around the ice so the crew isn't stepping in the fresh, unfrozen paint. After the pink is applied and allowed to freeze good, clear water is pumped through the wand to seal in the pink. It is important to do this in small doses and not melt the frozen resin and cause it to float up. After several passes, it is save to bring on the Zamboni and apply more water. We shoot for at least a quarter inch of clear over the resin for the safety of the skaters.

If the resin comes to the surface, skates could catch in it and trip a player, affecting the game and possibly causing an injury. But, we don't want it too thick because the ice will become soft and it will take longer to cut out. A few years ago it took about 10 hours with two Zamboni machines. We probably had the ice too deep this time and the pink too dark, thus all the added cut time.

Now let's talk about the schedule. The crew had to paint the ice on Thursday after team practice and have it all finished before the teams practiced Friday morning. One crew member had to stay all night "flooding" with the Zamboni.

After the game Friday, somebody could have possibly stayed all night Friday night to cut out the pink. But, cutting is a bit more technical than just flooding so fewer of us are qualified to do it. The pink would have had to be cut out, the ice leveled, and more flood coats applied in time for the Saturday morning practices.

So, it was decided to leave the pink in for Saturday's game. The crew's weekend got a little brighter when it was announced that Linkin Park had to cancel their show on Sunday. Bad news for Linkin Park fans but it gave the ice crew a much deserved day off.

Cyclones practice was moved to Northland Ice Center on Monday and Tuesday so the pink could be cut out of the ice. It took about 7 hours with one Zamboni to get all the traces of pink up, then a few hours of flooding on top of that to restore the ice depth and level it up.


Blogger boosted98mitsu said...

It's been awhile since I've been to your site....loved the behind the scenes stuff about Pink in the Rink. I love when the rink is pink and unfortunately the Royals don't color it anymore. It's obviously time consuming! Happy Hockey to you!

2:51 PM  

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