Let there be ice!


After 38 years on the job, Brad Wilson of Port Dover knows all about good arena ice-making.


By Jan Dean

BEFORE figure skaters and hockey players lace up, staff at the Port Dover Arena have to lay down the ice.
That started last Friday under the direction of Brad Wilson, who is set to retire this September from Norfolk County. One last time he’s putting down the ice in the Port Dover Arena.
It starts with a layer of white paint that hides the cement below and gives the ice a pristine look.
Then comes layer after layer of water,
“It takes about five days,” says Brad. “Eventually the ice will be one to one-and-a-half inches thick and ready for skating.”
There’s a skill to creating the perfect ice surface and it’s one that Canadians are known for around the world.
Brad says having really good equipment at the Arena and many years of courses in refrigeration under his belt makes ice-making a lot easier.
The Arena, opened in 1987, has held up well. All the pipes under the concrete, and the concrete flooring are in good shape.
And the Arena is turning into a giant freezer.
After three layers of water, only the bolts that mark the centre of each hockey face-off circle mar the gleaming white surface.
Once the ice is about an inch thick, it will be time to paint the lines – something that has to be done about 10 times each season.
“Port Dover water is amazing for ice-making,” says Brad. “It doesn’t create scaling like the water in all the communities around us.”

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