How do you change an arena from hockey to basketball in a few hours?

This afternoon, the Dallas Stars played the Edmonton Oilers. Tonight, the Dallas Mavs plays the Atlanta Hawks. Both games take place at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

I know there is some system below the arena floor with pipes that control the water that is used. The water can be frozen to make the ice surface for hockey and then melted. I’m guessing it is easier to play the basketball game second since it is probably quicker to melt the ice surface than to freeze it.

What else is involved? Taking down the boards and glass that surrounds the hockey rink. Lay down the court surface. Install the baskets, benches, courtside seats, and scorer’s table.

What else am I missing? Can this really be done in a few hours? Will early arriving Mavericks fans see the arena still being set up? I’m sure the arena gets the hockey fans out quickly, although the game did go to a shootout.

The ice is still there, under the boards. They don’t melt the ice.

They just lay the parquet on top of the ice, lower the boards, that’s it. When it first came out, there were safety issues as the ice caused condensation and warping on the parquet, but it seems so widespread now I suppose there’s a technological solution for it.

RBC Center in Raleigh can go from BB to hockey in 90 minutes. The downside is that the ice is typically not in good shape after a BB game the same day. Going from hockey to BB takes longer and they normally don’t do that 1 day.

RBC Center Time lapse video of the change from BB to hockey

I think Dallas usually goes from hockey to basketball since there are no NHL teams close to Dallas. Thus, the Stars get the afternoon game and the visiting team usually goes on to Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, or one of the Florida teams.

The NBA team playing the Mavericks usually has a quick trip to Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, or even New Orleans.