Jun 29, 2023

Rock Springs Ice Arena to open Monday to the public

Tiffany Asher, [email protected]

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — The Rock Springs Recreation Center is gearing up to get ice back on the rink this season. The ice arena will be open to the public at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, and the Grizzlies Hockey Team will be starting camp on Aug. 31.

How The Recreation Center Creates Ice In The Arena

The floor for the ice arena was at 27 degrees Tuesday afternoon. “We will be getting the floor down about another ten degrees or so. Then we will be stuck out here spraying water down for the next few days,” Ice Arena Manager from the Rock Springs Recreation Center, Adam Stio, explained.

It takes around 50-60 hours to make, depending on how many people you have to help. “Each process depends on the situation with the building. The thing that we don’t have here is de-humidification so we have no way to suck the humidity out of the air or the building. This building is 40 years old and the system can only get the temperature to a certain point. We are working with a 50-degree building; sometimes it gets slightly warmer. Even the water that you put down here can start to evaporate,” Stio stated.

They spray a little bit at a time using a boom sprayer. Stio brought up that if you add too much water at once it acts like the ice cubes in your fridge. If filled too quickly and then frozen, pressure on the rink will crack. Once it cracks, it changes color and that’s due to the oxygen that has now reached the middle of the ice. “We have to build it up and do it in very thin layers because if someone stepped on it, would start to crack and crush.”

Once they get enough layers down, they have to turn it white. During that process, they paint the ice white since ice is a transparent color. Afterward, they lay down the logos for the teams and sponsorships. They will have logos for the Miner’s Youth Program – which has been there since 1987 – and the Grizzlies Hockey Team. These images are printed onto a canvas which makes it easier to seal into the ice. Once all the canvas pieces are measured and laid onto the ice, they seal them with another layer of ice, between three-quarters to an inch thick.

6th Penny Tax Will Bring In A New Compressor

Back in the November election, the county voted for the 6th Penny Tax. The Rock Springs Recreation Center proposed a bid to receive a new compressor system, which is now in the works. Stio said, “This one here is original to the building so it’s around 38 years old. It’s pretty old and the compressor has been here since then. I know that the county has approved the project and our directors are working on the official way to bid on the project. So the project is now out for bid and we should have someone soon.” He went on to mention that demolition for the new compressor will begin in April 2024 when the hockey season ends and should be ready to go next August.

This will not only look less bulky, but Stio mentioned that the cost to maintain the compressor should go down. It will be more efficient and they may be able to operate more months out of the year. Maintenance for the current compressor runs around $5,000 to $10,000 a month. With the new system coming in, Stio estimates that it will save the Recreation Center around 50% to 70% in maintenance costs.

The Recreation Center is also looking to replace the Zambonie in the next few years. Stio hopes that they can get a few more things fixed up as well so that the city doesn’t have to worry about the Ice Arena and focus on other areas of Rock Springs.

Other Ways The Recreation Center Cut Costs

Lighting was also a huge factor in cutting costs. Stio mentioned that they got a great bid from a local company here in town that replaced all the lights with LEDs. Before that, they had halogen and hay lights which caused a spike not only in electrical costs but arena temperatures as well.

“The cool thing about these lights is they are tested against potato cannons that can shoot projectiles at 100 mph. That way, when hockey pucks start flying around and hitting lights like this they aren’t going to damage them.” Even though these LED lights were part of a $35,000 project, they will have zero maintenance for at least 20-30 years. The halogen and hay lights usually would cost between $250 and $1,000 to replace once they burned out.

Grizzlies Hockey Team Coming To Rock Springs

“When these guys got here, they were very professional and have been doing this for many years. They knew exactly what they needed and we gave them the space. They then turned it into something cool.” Stio explained that all of the wood in the locker room was brand new. Each player will have an area for all of their belongings near the office, which is also where equipment will be stored. There is an adjacent room for more storage, along with where the coach’s office will be.

All the players will be coming into town next week and will start camp on Aug. 31. The first exhibition game will be on Sept. 8 and then another one on the 15th. The Home Opener will be held on Sept. 22.

To learn more about the Rock Springs Grizzlies Junior “A” League hockey from Coach Naylor, read here.

Planning On Going To The Ice Arena?

Rock Springs has a full-size ice arena. They offer ice skating lessons for ages four and up, hockey, and open skate times. The ice arena is included in your daily fee to the Recreation Center. Keep your eye out for special activities and ice shows. A calendar of events can be found here.

There is also an Ice Arena Pro Shop with skates, hockey equipment, accessories, and blade repair. Skate rentals are $3 per session. The community can rent the ice arena for parties/groups, complete with a snack bar.

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — How The Recreation Center Creates Ice In The Arena 6th Penny Tax Will Bring In A New CompressorOther Ways The Recreation Center Cut CostsGrizzlies Hockey Team Coming To Rock SpringsPlanning On Going To The Ice Arena?