Alfond Arena’s new chiller system still needs fine-tuning

Maine goalie Dan Sullivan makes a glove save on New Brunswick forward Nick MacNeil during an exhibition game earlier this season at Alfond Arena. Maine has installed a new chiller system that still needs some fine-tuning as water was left in the goalie crease after the Zamboni put down a new ice surface during Saturday night's game against Providence.
Michael C. York | BDN
Maine goalie Dan Sullivan makes a glove save on New Brunswick forward Nick MacNeil during an exhibition game earlier this season at Alfond Arena. Maine has installed a new chiller system that still needs some fine-tuning as water was left in the goalie crease after the Zamboni put down a new ice surface during Saturday night's game against Providence. Buy Photo
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 31, 2011, at 5:51 p.m.

ORONO — In the opening minute of the third period of Saturday night’s Hockey East game between the University of Maine and Providence College at Alfond Arena, referee Jeff Bunyon had to attend to some ice maintenance.

There was still some water in front of Maine goalie Dan Sullivan’s crease so Bunyon was handed a squeegee to push the water out of the way. He also skated to the far goal to clear the ice surrounding the net occupied by Providence College netminder Alex Beaudry.

The university just completed a $4.85 million renovation to the rink that included a new chiller system.

But Scott White, the university’s arena operations manager, said there’s no reason to panic.

White contacted Preferred Mechanical Services, Inc., the Pembroke, Mass., company that installed the system, and was told this is a “common occurrence” with a new chiller system.

“With a new chiller system, you have miles of tubing under the floor and there is still air in the system (because of its newness),” explained White. “The air has to work its way out. Once the air is out of the system, it’s easier to regulate the temperature.

“That end of the ice is our problem area. It’s the last spot to freeze (after the Zamboni puts down a new ice surface),” added White who also noted that it was the third period and there was a good crowd (4,183) so it was warm in the arena.

That contributed to the problem as well, he said.

White pointed out that with any new chiller systems, there is an adjustment period for the employees as well since they have to learn all the nooks and crannies that go with the system and how to regulate the ice temperature.

“It’s new so we’re still trying to figure it out,” said White.

The Black Bears hit the road this weekend for games Friday night at Boston College, the nation’s top-ranked team, and at New Hampshire on Saturday night.

White is hopeful that the problem at Alfond will be rectified by the time the Black Bears return home for a two-game series with UMass-Lowell on Nov. 11-12.

He was also quick to point out that with any new systems, there is an adjustment period for the employees as well since they have to learn all the nooks and crannies that go with the systems.

“It’s new so we’re still trying to figure it out,” said White.

The Black Bears hit the road this weekend for games at Boston College, the nation’s top-ranked tea, on Friday night and at New Hampshire on Saturday night.

White is hopeful that the problem will be rectified by the time the Black Bears return home for a two-game series with UMass-Lowell on Nov. 11-12.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/10/31/sports/alfond-arena%e2%80%99s-new-chiller-system-still-needs-fine-tuning/ printed on July 28, 2014