Event-goers in Sheffield will notice an ‘ice’ change on their next visit to the Motorpoint Arena.
The 180 sq metres of inch-thick ice which usually covers the venue’s floor is now a melting puddle being drained away.
Rob O’Shea, general manager at the Attercliffe venue, said: “Ice is something very close to the heart of the Arena because for eight months of the year it is in situ on the Arena floor. When you come to a concert any time between September and April you are actually sat or maybe stood on top of the ice.
On Monday, the Arena’s ice plant was switched to ‘thaw’ mode and the Zamboni – a piece of machinery used to cut, build and resurface the ice – was used to remove the top layer of white ice.
At the same time, hot water was pumped through the ice pad and over a 12-hour period, the frozen surface was reduced to a slushy puddle.
Rob said: “The frozen floor is an integral part of the building’s flexibility to host such a wide range of events all year round and night after night.”
Over the last eight months, the ice rink has hosted at least 26 ice hockey games and 11 performances of Disney on Ice.
The season came to an end at the Sheffield Varsity tournament last Wednesday, when a sell-out 8,500-strong crowd watched Sheffield Hallam University win the ice hockey fixture 2-1, although University of Sheffield was crowned the overall Varsity champion for the third year in a row.
Rob said: “Following last year’s plant failure that led to the postponement of several ice hockey fixtures for the first time in the building’s 23-year history, a significant financial investment has been committed for works to take place over the summer to prevent future ice-pad issues.
“This work will begin as soon as the ice is removed, so the venue can be back up and running with the ice floor for late August and ready for the start of the 2015/16 ice hockey season in September.”
The re-freezing of the floor takes 48 hours, followed by a further two-to-three days of building up the ice layer until it reaches the right standard.