With the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic now just over a week away, the anticipation continues to grow for the Feb. 11 showdown between Wisconsin and Ohio State University. The game features the first hockey event at venerable Lambeau Field.
But first, the Classic's main ingredient - the ice - needs to materialize.
A crew from Ice Rink Events, Texas-based company specializing in temporary ice rink construction, will descend upon Green Bay this week and begin transforming the football playing surface into a collegiate hockey rink.
So how does one turn Lambeau into an ice rink wonderland Over the course of seven to eight days, Lambeau Field will witness an extreme makeover. Because the field features a slight crown, the process isn't quite like flooding the field in the park field down the street to create a neighborhood ice rink.
The project will begin with laying down plywood on the field. On top of the plywood, a deck will be constructed to create a level surface to construct a rink.
The key component to the rink is the refrigeration mechanism. Ice Rink Events utilizes Calmac Manufacturing's IceMat II system, an ice rink floor grid system made up of 7-foot wide sections that will roll out 85 feet long. A total of 30 sections will be involved in the creation of Lambeau's ice rink. Within each section are 5/8-inch diameter polyethylene tubes, spaced just less than an inch apart, which will contain a non-toxic antifreeze solution. More than 32 miles of the tubing, circulating more than 2,200 gallons of the solution kept at a temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit, creates the freeze zone that will allow the applied water to become ice.
The first section of ice, which includes IceMat II's tubing system, will be roughly 1 inches thick. Once that surface is created, the ice will be painted and logos will be applied. A second layer of ice, 2 inches thick, is then created and manicured as the playing surface. Approximately 17,000 gallons of water will be used to create the ice.
Two hoses facilitating the antifreeze circulation, each measuring six inches in diameter and more than 400 feet long, will extend from the ice rink up into the southwest stands and into the concourse just inside the Mills Fleet Farm Gate where it will connect with a 48-foot tractor trailer which houses the 300-ton refrigeration system; for purposes of comparison, it is roughly 120 times what the average home would use in the summer to stay cool.
An ice path also will be constructed, providing a skating surface from the rink to the south end of the field where both teams will enter their respective locker room areas.
Ice Rink Events comes to Green Bay after just completing a multiple-week project in New York, "The Pond at Bryant Park," which featured an Olympic-sized rink sponsored in part by the New York Rangers. The rink hosted special events and weekly "Skates with the Rangers." Fox TV's "Skating with Celebrities" features an Ice Rink Events skating surface as well. Other previous events to feature Ice Rink Events' skating surfaces include world and national figure skating championships, speed skating world championships in Beijing as well seasonal or temporary rinks all over the world. The IceMat system also has provided NHL surfaces in Tampa, Fla., and a few other cities.
Fans interested in watching the rink construction progress can see it online via the team's Web site at Lambeau Cam .
Tickets remain available for the game, slated for 3 p.m. on Feb. 11.
Prices are as follows for the stadium bowl: $24 for adults, $16 for students (including college), $14 for children (under 12). Indoor and outdoor club seats are sold out.
Tickets can be purchased on the internet at www.packers.com ; by phone through TicketStar at 920/494-3401 in Green Bay, or toll free, 800/895-0071, from any other location; or in person at TicketStar's Resch Center box office location, 1901 S. Oneida St., in Ashwaubenon.
The game also will serve as the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Hall of Fame.