Challenges facing L.A Ice Makers for Kings/Ducks outdoor game

How will this stadium be transformed into a hockey rink? Will it work?
Photo Credit: komonews.com/AP

On January 25, 2014, Dodger Stadium will host its first-ever outdoor ice hockey game. This highly-anticipated event is the first opportunity for the long-lauded stadium to host a National Hockey League game, and well-known rivals the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks will face off on what is sure to be a challenging arena. Dodgers president Stan Kasten is ready for the challenge, telling The Hollywood Reporter that this upcoming game is only one of Dodger Stadium’s many “unique and special moments.”

 

Why is this outdoor ice hockey game so particularly challenging? For starters, Los Angeles’ temperatures are rarely amenable to ice, and the fans are likely to be packing the bleachers wearing only t-shirts and shorts. In January 2013, Los Angeles temperatures reached into the 80s; there’s no reason why January 2014 will be any different.

In addition to being the first outdoor ice hockey game played at the 51-year-old stadium, this game is also the first outdoor ice hockey game ever played in California. As Kasten told LAist:

“What will distinguish this event from all the other events in the Stadium Series is no one is going to have the shot we’re going to have. No one is going to have the shot of that great NHL sheet of ice in front of our bleachers, our palm trees and our San Gabriel Mountains.”

After this historic Dodger Stadium event, does this mean more ice hockey for California stadiums? Time will tell, although it seems likely that once California gets a piece of the NHL action, the state is unlikely to let it go.

Now for the big question: how do the Dodgers plan to keep the field cold? Not unsurprisingly, there are many services ready to help hockey stars stay smooth on the ice. Although you wouldn’t expect a company that specializes in refrigerators to be the team you call for your ice hockey game, it’s actually these people who know how to bring the temperature down and keep it there: RECCO USA refrigeration, for example, has years of experience keeping ice rinks cool.

The Dodgers plan to turn to Dan Craig, the NHL’s Senior Director of Facility Operations, to ensure the field is structured to regulations. The NHL has given Craig the nickname “Ice Man,” and he’s ready to prove it. According to Frozen Royalty, Craig plans to use a 40-person crew to install the ice sheet, then another 12-person crew to install a reflective cover to prevent exposure to heat from sunlight.

That’s all fine, you’re probably thinking, but what about the air? Los Angeles air is known for its dense, oppressive texture, and it stays warm long after the sun has gone down. Even with a reflective cover installed, the Ice Man will need to keep careful watch on his ice sheet to make sure it isn’t melted by simply coming in contact with the air above it.

Expect to see numerous compressors, air conditioning units, and airflow structures installed in and around the Dodger Stadium field. As refrigeration companies know, cooling the air is as important as cooling the structure itself. People sitting close to the field may want to bring a jacket; it’ll be less likely that the cooling systems will dissipate all the way out to the upper tiers.

If you want a ticket to this historic game, act fast. This is going to be a sold-out night, with ticket sales already vastly exceeding those of the other five NHL Stadium Series games. LAist suggests that the best views are actually further away from the field, urging patrons to avoid the temptation of front-row seats for a more all-encompassing view. Be sure to have cameras on hand to capture the unique landscape Kasten is trying to create: a beautiful warm night, with the sun setting behind palm trees, and two long-standing rivals battling it out on a brilliant, perfect field of ice.

By: Jenna Smith- Sports-Kings Contributor

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