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There’s a trick to keeping the NHL in Arizona — it all starts with the ice

Posted by   /  July 11, 2019  /  No Comments

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Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) controls the puck as he sprays ice at Gila River Arena late last year. /Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

By Julia Stumbaugh | Arizona Republic 

When the first man-made skating rink opened in London in the summer of 1844, it was not made of ice. No technology at the time could keep the necessary quantity of water frozen.

Instead, patrons skated on “Not-Ice”, a slippery composite of salt, copper sulfate and lard. The pig fat made the surface slick enough to glide across; it also made the building unbearably smelly. According to Smithsonian magazine, the stench was so foul that it forced the rink out of business.

Almost two centuries later, the ingredients to make a skating rink are a bit different.

Modern NHL rinks are frozen onto a slab of refrigerated concrete. Technicians flood water onto the concrete in layers. A white layer is frozen, then rink markings are painted on top. Finally, the whole thing is sealed under several layers of clear ice. When the process is done, the ice is about three-fourths of an inch thick.


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  • Published: 1 year ago on July 11, 2019
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  • Last Modified: July 11, 2019 @ 1:31 pm
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