Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of two names in the story.
Enmarket Arena is now on ice.
Facilities manager Tim Junis and a 10-man crew spent two days getting the ice down and there’s a lot of it - about 40 to 50 tons. The surface was laid in preparation for the Savannah Ghost Pirates season. The minor league hockey team opens training camp in mid-October and makes its home ice debut on Nov. 5.
Here's everything you need to know about the Enmarket ice:
The process is similar to how a refrigerator's icemaker makes cubes, albeit on a much larger scale.
Everything starts with the concrete floor of the arena being scrubbed clean of any particles of dirt, gum and any oil spots from machinery. Then, a thin coat -about 1/64th of an inch - of water is sprayed on the floor. Next, white paint specifically made for ice rinks is sprayed on the surface.
“We spray the water because you don’t want to paint on concrete,” Junis said. “Then we put down three layers of water, run it free of the cement and then paint it white.
“There’s white paint on there because if we didn’t you would just see the gray cement on the ground.”
Get'em fast or expect to pay more later:How Savannah Ghost Pirates are the hot ticket in town
Davy is his name and hockey's his game:Here's what to know about the Ghost Pirates mascot
After the painting is finished another three layers of water is added.
The water, meanwhile, is being frozen during the process because under the arena’s floor is a series of pipes which will carry a secondary refrigerant of glycol which is mixed with water and then chilled and sent out to the floor to pull the heat out of the concrete above it.
The ice is an inch to 1-1/4 inch thick, which helps the game to be played at a fast pace. Pro hockey players skate at a speed of 18 to 20 mph on what Cristiano Simonetta, the Ghost Pirates' director of communications and broadcasting, described as “a pair of razor blades.” If the ice is any thicker it will slow down the players.
Hockey rinks, from the NHL down through the college ranks, are rectangular with rounded corners. The rink is 85 feet by 200 foot with the corners having a turning radius of 28 feet. The puck, incidentally is an inch thick and three inches in diameter and weighs six ounces.
Once the ice is down it’s down for the season. It’s never removed for concerts, basketball games or any other events which may take place.
“We have the chiller set at 16 degrees” Fahrenheit, Junis said. “The temperature in here (the arena) is around 55 to 61 degrees. We keep the AC running because we don’t have a humidifier.
“It can get pretty chilly,” Junis said. “I would tell people to dress warmly for the hockey games. At least have a jacket and wear long pants. Actually with 7,000 people in here after the first period it’ll get warm with all the body heat.”
Fans coming to town:Veteran, new hockey fans like the view for Savannah Ghost Pirates games at Enmarket Arena
Aargh!:The Savannah Ghost Pirates' swashbuckling mascot now has a name
Any discomfort for concert goes will be minimal other than a possible slight chill in the air. For any non-hockey event the ice is covered with ice decks which Junis said are similar to plywood but are of a different material.
“It insulates you from the ice,” Junis said. “People can walk on it. You won’t freeze.
After the ice is in place the next step is applying the markings, the lines and getting the logos in place.
Measurements have to be made to league standards. The goal lines, center red line and blue lines have to be perfectly straight. The lines and markings are painted and then covered with a light coat of water.
Countdown to the Ghost Pirates' debut:How to build a new hockey franchise from scratch
“You use a spray nozzle to put a thin layer of water on the lines and it’s frozen,” Junis explained. “It stays frozen because you don’t want to mix the white and the colors together because the colors will smear.”
The logos go down last. They are a mesh style which are laid on the ice and essentially act as enormous stencils. The process is similar to the laying of the lines