WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – When the Wheeling Nailers received the devastating news that their floor was no longer in working condition, they quickly jumped to action to find a solution for the upcoming season. And that solution just happened to be in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
The current situation on the ice is that there isn’t any, but soon enough there will be. Crews have been working around the clock to make sure the floor is ready for the puck drop in just nine days.
“Well, normally, we have a little bit more time and we don’t have to throw us much labor at it that we’ve had to do on this particular project, but this came up at the last minute,” said John Burley, President of Everything Ice, Inc. “It wasn’t expected by the Nailers or the arena in any fashion, it was just an unfortunate failure that disservice at the last minute.”
Last minute is exactly what this project is. Just a little over two weeks ago is when the Nailers we’re alerted of their ice conditions. But Everything Ice, Inc. has a superior reputation with over 40 years of experience and one thousand ice rinks under their belt.
“There’s no doubt that we have an awful lot of work ahead of us here, but there’s nothing that’s insurmountable,” Burley said. “We have the right crews and materials here on site. So, we expect to be starting up the chiller next week and starting the ice during the week.”
The old system ran for 28 years, on a coolant called R-22 which was in the process of being banned. This system uses these coils to pump a liquid like Antifreeze that freezes the water. But to the public eye, it won’t look any different.
“We’re set up at a modular standpoint that each section is 4 foot, holds 32 tubes, so when it goes down or comes up it goes down quick and easy,” Burley added.
They plan to keep the floor for many years to come. And they say this new system will produce a higher quality ice for the Nailers.
“Anything can happen, but we are 99 percent sure that we’re going to be playing and that this ice is going down and we will be making ice very very shortly,” said Nailers governor Don Rigby. “So, it is a relief and we’re going to probably have better ice than the past.”
And to top it all off, fans have a new way of cheering on their favorite team. WTRF will be airing 41 of their 72 games, both home and away including their first game this Saturday in Cincinatti. And the team is just as excited as the fans.
“We had tremendous enthusiasm from our season ticket holders, from our boosters, and I just think it’s another way in terms of growing the Nailers reach in the community and building some enthusiasm,” said head coach Mike Bavis.
You can watch these games on WTRF – MyOhioValley. Stick with 7News as we continue to bring you the latest on the Nailers all season long.