from Niall McKenna of CBC, North America’s first NHL-sized synthetic ice rink appears to be a bust after officials were forced to remove the $550,000 surface due to unexpected cracks and bumps.
The Archie Simpson Arena in Fort Chipewyan, Alta., was outfitted in December 2010 with a plastic-based surface, which acts similar to real ice but requires no refrigeration.
At the time, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which owns the arena, said the surface would save money because maintenance costs are lower than artificially cooled ice.
Problems emerged when the synthetic surface was covered with natural ice, which local hockey players prefer for the months temperatures in the northern Alberta arena stay below zero.
“The ice began to buckle and in some places there were air pockets, and it was impossible for them to get a level sheet of natural ice on it,” local hockey player Darrel Laboucan told CBC News.