Ice Ice Baby

Aug 27, 2019

Something you may not ever think about while watching a London Knights game is the actual ice they are playing on. Have you ever wondered about the process of installing the ice at Budweiser Gardens? As we prepare for another hockey season we sat down with the Chief Operator and Special Projects Manager at Budweiser Gardens, Dillon Learn, to give you an inside look at everything it takes to get the ice game ready! 

Step 1 – Turning on the Ice Plant 

Berg Chilling Systems comes in to turn on the ice plant in the ice-making facility of Budweiser Gardens. During the summer everything is settling so the first step will be to drain the oil out of the system and grease motors and bearings. Once the Ice Plant system is turned on the temperatures and pressures levels are monitored to achieve the desired temperature.  

Step 2 – Painting the Arena Floor White 

The arena floor is scrubbed clean and 3 coats of sealer are applied. Once the sealer has dried a paint machine is filled with Jet Ice 3000 and the entire arena floor gets painted.

Step 3 – Measuring out Lines 

Center ice is established, and the lines and circles are measured out.  

Step 4 – Lay down the logos and painting lines 

Logos are printed on decals and then frozen on to the ice surface. The lines and circles are also hand-painted on to the arena surface.  

Step 5 – Painting the London Knights logo 

Once sponsor logos are placed, we pounce the London Knights logo onto center ice. After the logo is placed it is hand-painted with the famous green and gold colours. 

Step 5 – Building the Ice 

Water is then laid on the arena surface for the next 4 days, 24 hours around the clock until the ice is built to the desired thickness of 1 and a half inches. 


Did you Know? 

Budweiser Gardens recently installed new NHL standard rink boards for the upcoming hockey season which include Latec Level-Ice. Level-ice is a laser machine for leveling ice. The system is designed to automatically control the cutting blade in the ice surface conditioner to achieve an accurate level ice surface for optimum thickness.   


Frequently Asked Questions 

How thick is the Ice? 

For hockey, the ice is typically 1 inch to 1 ½ inch.  

Is the Ice the same for Hockey Players and Figure Skaters? 

Hockey players usually prefer a thick and hard sheet of ice. Figure skaters prefer a softer, thinner sheet of ice so it’s easier to dig the toe pick into the ice. 

How do you maintain the ice and keep it in perfect condition? 

The ice is tempered by warming the surface and then slowly cooling it back down which relieves stress and creates perfect hockey-playing conditions.  

How long does it take to put the ice in? 

At Budweiser Gardens we usually schedule about 1 week for installing the ice.  

How fast can the Zamboni go? 

About 9 mph 

Does the ice stay in year-round? 

No. The ice is removed after the London Knights finish their hockey season. Sometimes ice events take place once the playoffs are over, so it really depends on what is scheduled on the event calendar.  

Do you take the ice out every time there is a concert or basketball game? 

No. Our conversion crew will place insulated boards that sit on top of the ice to maintain the optimal temperature. The basketball court, concert stage, and event chairs would then go on top of the boards.  

How many times does the Zamboni take the ice before a London Knights game? 

Ideally, the Zamboni would do 6 floods before an OHL game.  

How do you control the ice? 

The ice is being controlled by an infrared camera, which is located on our catwalk, and it controls the on and offset points.