British Columbia

Kamloops to use new resurfacing technology on WHL rink

The City of Kamloops says REALice technology will save it thousands in energy bills.

City says technology already saving it thousands in energy bills at 2 other rinks

New technology will resurface ice using cold water instead of hot water. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

The City of Kamloops is using REALice technology to resurface ice in city arenas without using hot water, which, it says, is already saving taxpayers thousands in energy costs,

The technology removes micro-bubbles that typically appear when resurfacing ice with cold water. Hot water doesn't produce the small bubbles in the ice, which is why icemakers typically use heat to make smooth, solid ice.

The device has been used at the Brock and McArthur Island arenas.

At the Brock Arena, the City of Kamloops's sustainability services supervisor, Glenn Cheetham, said it has saved $16,000 per year in energy costs for the last two years.

"It wasn't the WHL rink, so it was a little less risky," Cheetham said.

After finding success at the smaller community arenas, the city is ready to try it at the Sandman Centre, where the Kamloops Blazers play.

City of Kamloops sustainability services Glenn Cheetham says the REALice system is already saving the city thousands of dollars in energy costs. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Cheetham said the City of Kamloops has interviewed several ice operators throughout B.C., because they want to make sure this strategy will work for the people making ice at arenas all over the city.

"There's a lot of pride that goes into making ice," he said. "Messing with the recipe was a little bit of a concern."

Noel Birch, recreation facility attendant at the Sandman Centre, said he is all for using the system, as long as it maintains his standards for ice. 

"From a money point of view, that would be awesome. It would keep our costs down, but is it going to give us the quality that we're used to?" he asked. 

The cost of the REALice system is $38,000 per unit. It's a titanium 3D printed device with no moving parts, so Cheetham expects it will last the city upwards of 20 years.

With files from Jenifer Norwell