Colorado Avalanche ice is in the process of going into Pepsi Center, with yesterday’s Paint the Ice event providing much of the color we’ll see all season.
The Colorado Avalanche’s arena, Pepsi Center, is ready to host some hockey. Granted, it won’t be doing that until the preseason, which starts in about three weeks. However, the ice is ready to go.
The process of making the ice is rather involved. Essentially, the arena makes the ice once, before the season even begins, and leaves it there until the last game is played.
The ice makers start by freezing the concrete floor of the arena via tubes embedded in the concrete. Once the concrete slab is below freezing, ice makers spray water mixed with white paint over it. They then add a clear coat and let it freeze.
Here’s how it looks going on at the Pepsi Center:
Once the first several layers of ice have frozen, the circles and other hockey markings, as well as the logo, are added. I find it interesting that the logos and markings are painted onto the surface. You’d think by now they’d have figured out how to apply a prefabricated veneer to the ice.
Yet, here’s the hand-painting in progress:
After all the colors go on, the ice makers will spray additional layers of ice until they have between 1-inch to 1 1/4-inch ice. As I said, the ice stays until after the last Avs game. For the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth and any shows, the crew will put down a sub-floor and then whatever flooring is needed for the event.
Another interesting aspect of this process, at least as far as the Colorado Avalanche go, is that the initial painting isn’t done all by professionals. The team invites some fans — typically season ticket holders — to a Paint the Ice event. They along with professionals paint the sponsor logos as well as the hockey markings:
They turn out pretty good looking. I’m going to guess the crew goes back later and cleans up any mistakes.
They also get to paint their names or other messages onto the Avalanche logo:
The crew will go through later and fill in the logo. But the names will be part of the ice all next season. Here’s video of the Paint the Ice event:
The painting of the blue center circle is the symbolic finishing of the ice painting. This is only Day 2 of a four-day process, though. Probably tomorrow the crew will go through and finish painting. On the last day, they’ll finish building up the ice.
So, Pepsi Center isn’t quite prepared for Colorado Avalanche hockey yet. However, Avs hockey will soon be upon us — on the fresh sheet of ice.