FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The 2021-22 Komets season is still weeks away, but crews inside Memorial Coliseum are hard at work preparing the ice for the reigning Kelly Cup champions.
Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown said preparations are not at a breakneck speed yet. However, crews have already completed steps like spraying the initial layer of ice and applying a coat of white paint for the playing surface.
This week, crews began installing graphics such as sponsorship logos and the playing lines. Crews must have an acute attention to detail since these graphics are painted by hand.
“There’s about 29 graphics that go on the ice,” said Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown. “It normally takes us a couple days, but we’re taking our time this week.”
After the graphics are installed, Brown says the rink is flooded with water until it freezes to a thickness of one and a quarter inches to an inch and a half. From there, crews need to maintain the ice throughout the Komets’ season.
Brown says about seven to eight people could be working on the ice at a time. He adds the crew takes a lot of pride in bringing this centerpiece to the Coliseum. Over the years, the Coliseum staff has earned recognition for having one of the best rinks in the ECHL.
“Some of our colleagues have commented on the clarity, the crispness of our ice,” said Brown. “It’s a matter of we have good, quality water and we’re doing some techniques to keep the water quality up for ice-making, for hockey.”
Along with installing the ice, Brown says crews are working on replacing dasher board decals and the glass ahead of the Komets’ season opener.
Once the season starts, staff look forward to welcoming thousands back to the Coliseum for the Komets 70th season. While he was not able to disclose specific details on any special celebrations for the anniversary season, Brown and the Coliseum staff look forward to a raucous crowd on opening night.”
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s good to be getting back to normal, whatever that may be, but part of that is Komet hockey,” Brown said.
The first preseason game for the Komets is Friday, Oct. 15, with opening night coming up on Saturday, Oct. 23.