What happens to the Ice?

A friend of mine and I were at a hockey game last night and we had a heated argument. Please help Straight Dope!! A couple of nights before I was at the arena for a concert I was lucky enough to have floor seats. During the hockey game Jay, my friend mused, " I wonder hoe they got the ice put back in so fast?" I countered with a “you’ve got to be joking” look. I told him that they just cover it up during concerts and the cooling coils that run thru the floor are sufficient enough to keep it from melting. He didn’t believe me and I didn’t believe him. We decided to put it to The Straight Dope and accept the consensus given here.

2nd part of the question is IF they do take out the ice how the hell do they get it back in so quickly.

There are only two things that are infinite…the Universe and Man’s stupidity…I’m not sure about the Universe though.

During a childhood tour of the The Forum (former home of the Lakers and Kings) I was told that the basketball floor is laid over the ice.

They lay the floor for basketball, etc., over the ice surface. At times, this can cause trouble. As I recall, there was a famous NBA playoff game where the water was seeping up through the wooden floor, forcing delays while it was mopped up.

I worked at a booth at the MCI center which was on the arena floor. I can attest that the ice stays, covered up by either basketball floorboards or plywood.

We stood on the latter, which wasn’t much insulation from the cold. Both my wife and I had stiff legs and cramps from it.

I remember in the news a couple years ago, where they were having trouble with the wooden floor in Rupp Arena. (BTW, Go UK!) IIRC, the evaporated moisture from the ice rink under the floor was causing some of the wood to warp.

OTOH, the ECHL team The Huntington Blizzard plays in Huntington Civic Center, which has a cement floor. The rink is removable. I don’t know how fast it can be set up or torn down, but it is pretty quick.

Mr. K’s Link of the Month:

Punch Bill Gates

Yes, the ice does stay in. The boards are all numbered and taken down in order and stacked so they can be set up again quickly. While the ice may cause problems for a basketball court, the court doesn’t do the ice any favours either.

As far as for how long it take to lay down the ice, the Dallas Stars just played on the road in an arena where the ice had been put in that day. It was horrible. Like many things ice needs to be seasoned, that is skated on and then Zambonied. The more often the better.

Ditto. In our convocation centre at college we laid down a vinyl tarp and then strandboard flooring when they’d have meetings and events and pep rallies in the facility, then put the boards and glass back up for hockey.

What cracked me up is that the hockey rink was in the same facility as the indoor track; there would be guys huffing by on a mile race while were were slamming the glass a few feet away.

It depends upon the arena. For example, the First Union Center in Philadelphia keeps the ice all hockey season. For non-hockey events, they lay homosote (sp?) boards over the ice, then put whatever flooring they require for the event. The reason for this it that the ice in the FU Center is about 2-3" thick, and it would take too long to melt and re-freeze.

In Madison Square Garden, however, the ice is only 1" thick, so they can get away with the melt and refreeze. This also means that making a really fast turn on the ice in the Garden can cause you to hit concrete.

I was told this story while taking a tour of the FU Center about 5 years ago. It’s possible that MSG no longer follows their old practice.