By Ryan Zuke -
When cooling in a house fails, it’s not normally an urgent matter. But when cooling in an ice rink fails, it creates an immediate problem.
When the Isabella Community Events Arena in Mount Pleasant was ready to start making ice for the season, its water-cooled chiller was leaking and there was no chance at repairing it. The rink was forced to make a decision and opted to upgrade with an air-cool chiller.
But the improved air cooler comes at a small cost. The arena will be closed until Oct. 1 due to the renovations, and certain leagues and teams will slightly be affected.
However, Rob Flynn, director of the ICE Arena, said it is possible the rink may re-open earlier.
“Right at the moment, it is the hope that we are going to have one (air chiller) here within the next couple of weeks and get it up and running,” Flynn said. “We still may be able to open it up by the middle of September, but we are planning on the first of October.”
Flynn said he believes it is the proper time to complete the upgrade.
“We had to do it now because we obviously want to have ice and a season, rather than gamble in the beginning and think we could fire it up, and then lose ice half way through the season,” Flynn said.
The new air-cool chiller is expected to be more efficient than the water-cooler chiller.
“With the air cool now, we won’t have to mess with the hard water that goes in with the water cooler, so there shouldn’t be any damage type thing,” Flynn said. “We’ve been told that with an air cooler, we could go thirty years without having any problems.”
The closure is not supposed to have a major affect on youth or adult hockey leagues, but will affect Central Michigan University and Mid Michigan Community College Club hockey.
The teams will be forced to practice at another rink in the meantime, but scheduled games at the ICE Arena are still expected to be played on time.