Saturday, November 12, 2005

New ice-making system for Oly hockey arena -- we've got a failed ice rink too, on the South Side

Ice troubles have hit the city's lone indoor ice rink in recent times too. It's been closed. I think we need people in leadership roles who care to run what we have with energy. We've been squandering our assets, sadly. - 2006 Winter Olympics - New ice-making system for Oly hockey arena - Saturday November 12, 2005 4:42PM The ice-making equipment at the secondary hockey arena for the Turin Games will be replaced after failing at an Olympic test event.

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New ice system for Oly hockey arena

TURIN, Italy (AP) -- The ice-making equipment at the secondary hockey arena for the Turin Games will be replaced after failing at an Olympic test event.

The decision by the organizers comes less than three months before the Feb. 10 opening ceremony. Jukka Pekka Vuorinen, hockey competition manager for the organizing committee, said Saturday the cost for the change at Torino Esposizioni will be several hundred thousand dollars.

The arena is not a permanent hockey site and will revert to an exhibition space after the Winter Games.

Teams taking part in a test tournament this week complained of soft ice. Freshly laid paint also seeped through the ice, the result of a power outage three weeks ago that nearly caused the entire ice sheet to melt.

The power setup also will be changed from one generator to two separate sources, one for the ice-making equipment and another for the air conditioning. Vuorinen said both components could not work at full capacity under the old single-generator system.

The decision was made in conjunction with the International Ice Hockey Federation. The group's president, Rene Fasel, was in Turin on Friday and Saturday.

"We knew earlier there were problems -- maybe not the full extent -- but now people are listening to us," Vuorinen said.

"It would probably be OK if it was cold enough, but we have to be sure because this is the Olympics and millions of people are going to be watching these games, in America and all over the world."

Vuorinen said workers have begun melting the ice and will rip up the floor next. The new system is expected to be in place by the end of December, and more test games are likely in January.

"Now I'm 100 percent sure it will work if there are warm temperatures," Vuorinen said. "On many days we will have up to three games there and with 6,000 spectators the heat level is huge."

The old equipment could cool the ice to 17.6 degrees. The new system will be able to reach 6.8, matching the equipment at the primary Palasport Olimpico arena.

Palasport, where only half the seats have been installed, will host another test game at full capacity in December.

"They're cutting it close, but I think they will prevail," U.S. women's coach Ben Smith said.