Our Icehouse is sand based(as opposed to concrete). Within the sand are tubes that contain glycol. A compressor makes the glycol cold and moves it through the lines.
Start of Season - New Ice
At the beginning of the season, all equipment is checked and the sand smoothed out. It takes a good 2 weeks to make the ice ready for play. It starts with lightly sprinkling water on the sand 3 times a day for a couple of days. Once the sand is frozen enough the house is 'flooded' using a gentle stream of water. This is done multiple times a day and adds less than 1/8 inch of ice each time. Flooding continues for 4-5 days.
Next comes 'laying paper'. This involves putting wet, white square sheets of paper over the entire house and is done by a crew of 8-10. This makes the ice look nice and the lines and circles stand out. 1 sprinkle then 2 floods follow on top of the paper. The hacks are put in during these floods.
Next comes laying the lines and circles. This is done by 4-5 people and takes 4-5 hours. Again, a sprinkle and 2-3 floods.
Now the ice is ready to be 'scraped' prior to the first real use of the season. The scraper is the big machine tucked away at the East end of the house. Each scrape takes about an hour but at this point, we will often do multiple scrapes to clean up the ice and eliminate any mineral buildup on the surface. This mineral buildup is what makes the ice greasy after a flood.
Then a double 'pebble'(see below) and a 'nip' and let the curling begin!
Key players: Ian Journeaux, Jack Konopacky, Jack Edgerton
Scraping the ice is a daily task to help keep the ice in good shape. This takes about an hour. The more frequently the ice is scraped, the faster the ice will be. Jack Edgerton, Jack Konopackyand John Frederiksen are the only members who know how to do this on a regular basis. This is one area where we need more volunteers.
Before Each Match
Ice is 'pebbled', which means hot water is sprinkled across the ice with a special tool. It looks like the ice is getting holy water on it. The pebbling of the ice gives the ice an orange peel texture. Then the ice is 'nipped' using the tool stored on the East side of the house. The nipped pebbles are what the stones ride on and makes it easier to move the stone down the ice. Many people perform this task. If you were ever wondering why everyone is standing around before a match it may be because they're waiting on someone to pebble. Its easy to do, just ask someone to train you before you try it.
At least once a month the ice is flooded. Usually if the ice seems to be leaning to the outside walls its time for a flood(see Challenges). Scraping follows, of course.
Our house is not insulated nor airtight. And, because our ice goes right up to the walls a process called 'sublimation' occurs which results in the ice shrinking near the walls. Our only solution is to flood and scrape.
Our Ice Committee is comprised of: Jack Edgerton, Jack Konopacky, John Frederiksen, Ian Journeaux and Casey Konopacky. As you can see , many hours go into keeping our ice playable. This is a lot of work falling on just a few. Please consider getting involved in ice maintenance this next season, it would be most appreciated. Contact one of them or anyone who does pebbling/nipping to learn more.