JOHNSTOWN — Everything Ice at 701 Main St. in downtown Johnstown has provided a key component of the practice rink for the ballyhooed Winter Classic hockey game scheduled for New Year’s Day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The practice rink is set up just outside Heinz Field and has been in use since Christmas Eve for various youth, high school and amateur hockey games as well as public skating, said Rich Hixon, executive director
strategic planning for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Winter Classic is scheduled to face off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Heinz Field. The Penguins will play the Washington Capitals.
The game will be televised by the NBC network.
Everything Ice has provided the “Porta-Ice’’ brand portable rink piping system for the practice rink, said John Burley, president.
He said the system allowed the entire rink floor to roll out in a matter of hours, covering the entire 17,000-square-foot ice sheet with 26 miles of coolant pipe in a 4-foot-wide, carpet-type configuration.
An antifreeze refrigerant was circulated through the system that made the ice sheet.
Although State College based-AccuWeather.com on Wednesday was calling for a high of 53 degrees for Saturday in Pittsburgh, Burley said the temperature should not impact the rink.
The Penguins will be playing on a rink inside Heinz Field that is overseen by the National Hockey League.
NHL ice chief Dan Craig said that while above-freezing temperatures are not ideal, they wouldn’t necessarily affect the 21/2-inch-thick ice surface that is refrigerated to 22 degrees.
Only bright sunshine in conjunction with warming temperatures would soften the ice.
Sunshine is not expected Saturday, said AccuWeather.com.
But rain is and that could be worrisome. A light rain could freeze almost immediately after hitting the ice, creating an uneven surface. A steadier rain might flood the surface.
Everything Ice has built about 800 ice rinks throughout the world, Burley said. Largely because of a resurgence worldwide in ice-skating interest, he anticipates continued growth in 2011.