Chicago Blackhawk’s Parade

Posted: June 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m a big fan… like about two million other fans that lined Chicago streets for the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions Parade down Michigan Ave.  But here’s something that might surprise even the biggest fans… Hockey requires the perfect storm of temperatures and humidity to keep the game going!

Forming an ideal hockey ice surface isn’t as simple as making a tray of ice cubes. In fact, freezing a rink correctly takes a lot of work! Creating the perfect hockey ice is like manufacturing the perfect storm – it’s about the right ingredients and timing. Crews must use water along with high-tech refrigeration equipment to get the ice just right. It takes between 12,000 and 15,000 gallons to form a hockey rink surface. The freezing point of water is 32°F but the ice needs to be very hard so the temperatures must go even lower when the rink is built. Some stages of building up the ice rink require the frozen water to be as thin as 1/32 of an inch. Other layers of the rink require paint to create an attractive background, then more layers of ice on top. The skating surface needs to stay below freezing and ideally no higher than 25°F. The building temperature doesn’t have to be freezing but it should be cool and most arenas are about 63°F at game time. The indoor humidity (or moisture in the air) is at about 30 percent. Even one degree can make a big difference in the quality of the ice. But even when the conditions are ideal, the doors must open to let the audience come in and if that change  increased the humidity, a fog can develop over the ice. Using dehumidifiers and coolers, the arena “atmosphere” must compensate for the heat and humidity that will come in when the arena doors are opened to fans and spectators.

Hockey players, though, prefer colder, harder ice. With many skaters on the ice simultaneously, it’s easy for the ice surface to get broken up. For hockey games, the top of the ice is usually kept at 24° to 26°F. Ice that’s too warm might cause players to lose their edge during a crucial play, but ice that’s too cold may chip too readily. Oh! And it’s not just the ice that needs to freeze. The ideal temperature for pucks is 14°F. Experiments show that a frozen puck will move faster and bounce less.

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I’m a big fan… like about two million other fans that lined Chicago streets for the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions Parade down Michigan Ave.  But here’s something that might surprise even the biggest fans… Hockey requires the perfect storm of temperatures and humidity to keep the game going!

 

Forming an ideal hockey ice surface isn’t as simple as making a tray of ice cubes. In fact, freezing a rink correctly takes a lot of work! Creating the perfect hockey ice is like manufacturing the perfect storm – it’s about the right ingredients and timing. Crews must use water along with high-tech refrigeration equipment to get the ice just right. It takes between 12,000 and 15,000 gallons to form a hockey rink surface. The freezing point of water is 32°F but the ice needs to be very hard so the temperatures must go even lower when the rink is built. Some stages of building up the ice rink require the frozen water to be as thin as 1/32 of an inch. Other layers of the rink require paint to create an attractive background, then more layers of ice on top. The skating surface needs to stay below freezing and ideally no higher than 25°F. The building temperature doesn’t have to be freezing but it should be cool and most arenas are about 63°F at game time. The indoor humidity (or moisture in the air) is at about 30 percent. Even one degree can make a big difference in the quality of the ice. But even when the conditions are ideal, the doors must open to let the audience come in and if that change  increased the humidity, a fog can develop over the ice. Using dehumidifiers and coolers, the arena “atmosphere” must compensate for the heat and humidity that will come in when the arena doors are opened to fans and spectators.

 

Hockey players, though, prefer colder, harder ice. With many skaters on the ice simultaneously, it’s easy for the ice surface to get broken up. For hockey games, the top of the ice is usually kept at 24° to 26°F. Ice that’s too warm might cause players to lose their edge during a crucial play, but ice that’s too cold may chip too readily. Oh! And it’s not just the ice that needs to freeze. The ideal temperature for pucks is 14°F. Experiments show that a frozen puck will move faster and bounce less.

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