P.E.I. engineering firm scores spot on NHL's roster

From the soft drink industry to the NHL. This P.E.I. engineering firm was named the official rink engineering consultant of the National Hockey League.

'There's no reason that you can't ... partner with or work with the very best of what's out there'

'I'm the youngest child, so telling me I can't do something usually will instill the opposite response that you're expecting,' says Ian Storey. (Brodie Guest/Guest Automation)

After dedicating his life to hockey, Ian Storey has officially made it to the National Hockey League. 

But not as a player, coach or referee. 

In fact, Storey's path began in Prince Edward Island's soft drink industry. It was there he learned all about one of hockey's key necessities — ice.

"I realized what could be done with refrigeration and then I realized how it could be applied more so in the hockey rinks. And at that time the industry was not doing anything and told me it was impossible," Storey, the president of I.B. Storey, an engineering firm in Charlottetown, told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. 

"I'm the youngest child so telling me I can't do something usually will instil the opposite response that you're expecting."

And he was right.

NHL partnership

This week, I.B. Storey was named the official rink engineering consultant of the NHL.

Storey has applied fixes to all aspects of the process of making ice, from adjusting the method itself to changing the refrigerants used.

I think we, unfortunately, undervalue ourselves on the Island.- Ian Storey, I.B. Storey 

"One of the things that we would consider rudimentary at this point, in our world, would be heat recovery, where you can capture the energy that's coming from the back of a hockey rink and reuse it in the building," he said.

"It's a tremendous amount of energy that was going unutilised. We've found ways to efficiently capture and reuse that."

According to Storey, he estimates this process would save the average community rink on P.E.I. around $20,000 a year in operating costs, or possibly more.

'Top of our industry'

Storey said the NHL has a "direct commitment to community rinks." Specifically growing the sport and providing accessibility.

"As much as it's, you know, it's an NHL partnership, it is very much focused at particularly the one- and the two-sheet community rinks, in particular being the areas of concern," he said.

"What we do is we collaborate with them on an ongoing basis about this particular topic." 

Storey said once an issue is identified, the NHL goes about finding commercial solutions by partnering with other companies who bring additional strengths to the table. For example, compressor technologies, new refrigerants and lighting systems.

One of the first projects with the NHL, he said, is creating a bulk-buying website where community rinks can purchase money-saving products at a discounted price. 

'Beat on the door'

So from P.E.I. soft drinks to an NHL partnership, Storey said the main question he gets is, "How did you do that from here?"

"I think we, unfortunately, undervalue ourselves on the Island. You know we approached the NHL," he said. "It'll be it six years ago, but I beat on the door because that was the top of our industry and so that was where we wanted to be.

"Whatever industry you're working in, there's no reason that you can't, you know, partner with or work with the very best of what's out there from P.E.I."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning and Kevin Yarr


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