Healthy Zone Ice Rink in East Aurora (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Healthy Zone Ice Rink's Early Battles with Mother Nature

Ice opened last Friday, weather forces early cancellations

Mike Baggerman
October 20, 2017 - 3:00 am
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EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WBEN) – The outdoor Healthy Zone Ice Rink in East Aurora’s biggest challenge this autumn hasn’t been the warmer temperatures, but the wind, which recently caused scheduled hockey games to be cancelled, including pick-up games on Monday.

“We can operate in 75, even up to 80 winds when it’s dead wind,” Scott More, General Manager of the Healthy Zone Ice Rink, told WBEN. “Once you get the wind in here at 25-30 miles per hour like last Sunday, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Healthy Zone Ice Rink (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

He said southern winds will push the warmer weather to the lower part of the rink. It doesn’t flood the entire rink, instead it loosens about a quarter-inch on the top of the ice, meaning hockey games can’t be played. However, public skate is still possible.

On the plus side, their chilling system, which pumps glycol and creates the ice surface, is efficient.

“We’ve played on this thing at 80 degrees,” More said. “I’ve never seen 85 in late-October. Knock on wood it doesn’t happen. You might get pooling here and there when the some comes in but, for the most part, if there’s no wind and it’s dead, we’re alright.”

This hiccup comes just a few days after officials transitioned from their summer to winter programs. More said about two weeks ago rink officials began freezing the concrete. They officially opened for the winter season last Friday.

They check the ice temperature using a heat sensor to ensure they’re not above the 28-32 degree mark because the ice begins to pool.

“50 degrees with no wind (is the perfect condition),” More said. “It’s not too hot, not too cold. No wind. Guys don’t have to worry about being super cold out here. Luckily if we do get cold temperatures…we have this brand new lodge which is heated with fireplaces.”

Hundreds of local hockey players utilize the ice for hockey from all age levels. Leagues include a novice hockey league, CHL-40 games with over 200 players, and other leagues.

The Healthy Zone Ice Rink was built ten years ago and received the rink from the 2008 Winter Classic Game at then-Ralph Wilson Stadium. A roof over the ice prevents the sun from directly hitting most of the ice.

Afternoons are still open, particularly Tuesdays and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They’re just about fully booked in the evenings and weekends.

The Healthy Zone Ice Rink’s website can be found by clicking HERE

LISTEN: Scott More from the Healthy Zone Ice Rink in East Aurora

 

Healthy Zone - Scott More RAW.mp3

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