Silver Fox curling club invests in new technology
SUMMERSIDE – Curlers venturing out onto the ice this season at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club will notice something new about their lanes.
Volunteers help to install a new reusable marking system at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club. The investment will eliminate the need for painting the ice. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
A new system, unique in Atlantic Canada as far as the Club is aware, has completely replaced the rink’s need to paint its ice surface every year.
It’s a huge undertaking and investment for the facility, said Robbie Rankin, general manager.
However, they believe it’s a good move, both for their bank account and for the environment.
“Basically, we’re looking at the future … we’re up against environmental laws in terms of removal of paint,” said Rankin.
“We want to be a good neighbor to the community – keep everything on the up and up.”
There’s nothing wrong with the paint that’s widely used in rinks today, added Rankin, but they’d rather try and get ahead of any environmental law that might come along in the future.
“They call it environmentally friendly paint – but what is environmentally friendly when it comes to paint? The laws are changing every year in terms of what you can and can’t do to the environment,” he said.
“Twenty years ago you’d open the door and pour it down the manhole – everybody would do that. But with the environmental laws now – you have to so careful. And with us, with the waterway right beside us? We don’t want to take anymore chances,” he said.
The new system is from a company called Jet Ice, based in Newmarket, Ontario, and is bassically a series of huge plastic mesh sheets that are laid down on the floor and over which the ice is frozen.
The sheets make the ice look exactly the same as it would have if it were painted – except they’re reusable year after year. Jet Ice gives the sheets a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years – maybe more with top-notch care.
The system cost the Silver Fox about $30,000. Given the fact that it cost between $2,500 and $3,000 to paint the rink every year, Rankin expects the system to have paid for itself within a decade.
Each sheet, there are six of them, is also easy to install after they’re fitted the first year. Rankin estimates each will take about a half hour to install starting next year – meaning the Club will have cut down its ice prep time from a week to a few days at the start of each season.
“It’s a different way of doing things,” said Dave Loverock,
“It’s the next generation of where things are going in most of the industry. Everybody is heading to the green aspect of whatever they’re doing,” he said.
Loverock estimates there are about 100 rinks, both hockey and curling, in Canada that use the technology; and they’re becoming more popular all the time.