Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
The Sun, San Bernardino and the Inland Empire
Preparing for Reign
ONTARIO - In less than 20 days, Citizens Business Bank Arena will be filled with thousands of people watching the Ontario Reign minor-league hockey team take center stage.
But on Sunday a crew of 10 worked on building up the ice on the arena floor.
The conversion crew began making the ice at 8 Sunday morning, and they are not expected to finish until late tonight, said Chris Berg, director of operations for the arena.
In all, it will take about 48 hours to make the ice and paint the logos, said Steve Eckerson, general manager of the arena.
Work on the ice actually began Saturday, Berg said. Below the concrete of the rink is about 13.5 miles of pipe for the ice floor system. Inside the pipes is a solution that lowers the temperature of the ground. On Saturday, the temperature was turned down so that the crews could make the ice, Berg said.
On Sunday, the surface of the floor was about 15 degrees as crews sprayed on thin coats of water. Anything heavier would result in the ice chipping when skated on, Berg said.
Holding a metal tube with several nozzles attached over his shoulders, one of the crew members paced up and down the rink, spraying the floor as the nine others maneuvered the hose behind him.
By 3 p.m., the crew had begun hand painting the Ontario Reign logo as well as the city's logo and the founding sponsors logos on the ice, Eckerson said.
"This is a very labor-intensive process that is typically only done once a year," Eckerson said.
The arena, which will open this month, will be the home venue to the minor-league hockey team as well as numerous types of events.
In a month, the conversion crew will come back to "break it out," and melt the ice for one of those events. In November, Eckerson said the ice will have to be taken out because of a dirt event which will involve motorcycles and monster trucks.
Depending on events, Eckerson said they hope to only make the ice twice a year.
Crews will not have to break the ice for the first ticketed event Oct. 24 when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder, formerly the Seattle Supersonics, in an exhibition game, Eckerson said.
For that event, the conversion crew will install isolated flooring above the ice and then the plywood will be placed on top of that, Berg said.
"You couldn't even tell you are on ice," he said.