You wouldn't know it by looking, but it takes time and patience to pour the perfect sheet of ice. It's not as easy as filling up an ice tray.
"Many people don't realize what goes into the project of putting in the ice itself," said Jim Corbett, the long time manager of the ice arena. "It's going to be very intricate for the next five days."
Corbett says it's a game of hurry up and wait. In the 40 plus years he's been with the city of New Hope, he's seen very few sheets of ice actually go in.
"It's a lot of lets get up and get it right and sit down and wait for it to freeze," said Corbett. "It's actually an art form."
The summer's most anticipated sheet of ice is almost finished and people can't wait to get in and play on it.
"We can barely keep them from peeking in the doors," said Corbett. "When we renovate and have something new like this, everybody is really excited."
People won't have to wait long, either. The first practice is scheduled for Aug. 7, and after that there are three consecutive weekends of youth hockey tournaments planned at the arena.
An Arena in Disrepair
After 37 years of use, the New Hope Ice Arena needed work. Everything from refrigeration to the roof needed repairs and cost too much money to maintain.
After securing bonds and grants for a $4.2 million renovation project, work started in March. The old ice was hauled away and for the first time since 1975, you could see what was underneath — a dirt floor.
"This whole project based on premise that we're going to cut our utility cost by well over 33 percent," said Corbett.
The city used McKinstry consulting firm to design and implement energy and money-saving techniques for a "greener" arena, much like Brooklyn Park's renovated ice arena.
"We're going to save a lot of money by being on this ammonia-based system," said Corbett.
The city of New Hope invested $550,000 on giving public spaces like the lobby and meeting rooms a facelift. Those repairs won't be finished until mid to late August. A ribbon cutting and community celebration is planned for Aug. 22, when the public will be invited to skate on the new ice.
"We'll be ready to skate," said Corbett with a smile. "If everything keeps running we'll be ready and open on time."
Shannon Slatton reporting
Thursday, August 02, 2012