Ted Kamikaze

Weeknights 7pm - Midnight

Ice ice baby! I’d always wanted to see how it’s done when they put the ice in at Amalie Arena. I think many would be bored watching paint dry – because that’s really what you’re doing at Ice Day. But being a guy going through severe hockey withdrawal, it was fun to get out of the Tampa heat and into a frigid Amalie Arena to watch Ice Operations Manager Patrick Jesso’s crew do their work.

Even though I’ve watched and played hockey all my life, I’d never thought much about the ice itself. I learned a bunch of things I never knew.

  • How deep is the ice?

    This was the most mind-blowing fact for me. Patrick asked me to guess how thick the ice is when I asked. I went with 6 inches. Most friends and listeners I asked estimated about the same. But NO! Would you believe the completed ice is only an inch and a quarter deep!?

    So weird to walk in and see it this empty!

  • What's the official name of the red line color?

    I thought maybe fire engine red.  Or cherry red.  No.  Patrick says the official name for the color of the red line at center ice?  Center line red.

    We can verify their claims... if the Lightning use it, it must be the good stuff.

  • How long does it take to put the ice in?

    The Amalie Arena crew began at 7am and wrapped up at 7pm.  There’s lots of hurry up and wait.  The hurry to get layers on and then the wait to let it dry. Then the hurry to get the next layer on. Then the wait. You get the idea.

    This is what it looks like when the white paint layer goes on before it's covered with more ice.

  • Do they use a hose?

    I saw a hose near the center boards but never saw it used.  Instead a machine about half the size of the Zamboni sprays a fine mist of water or paint.  It creates a much more dense ice which is why the ice is usable even though it’s only 1.25 inches deep.

    Fortunately they didn't leave the water on.

  • When do they use the Zamboni for the first time?

    I hoped to see the first Zamboni (the ice cleaner you see between periods at Lightning games) ride of the 2022-2023 season. But the Zamboni doesn’t get its first call to duty until a couple days after the ice is installed.

    The Zamboni will be able to make its first run tomorrow once everything has set.

  • How many layers deep is the ice?

    I forgot to ask this one.  But I do know that the first few layers are just water on the gray concrete floor.  Then 3 layers of white paint go on.  After that more water is added to seal the painted layers.  Then finally the lines, circles and logos are painted on.

    It sprays the water and paint in a fine mist to keep the ice dense.

  • What kind of chemicals are used to keep the ice frozen?

    None.  I was surprised by that.  I figured with all the heat we have in Florida plus with thousands of fans, you’d have to use some sort of chemical treatment to keep the water frozen.  Not so says Patrick – it’s just regular water.

    It was FREEZING in the arena... but I guess that's the point.

  • Close the damn door!

    While the crews went about their tasks in a pretty casual way, there was one moment when voices got raised.  Someone left the door open.  Temperatures outside Amalie were toasty as they always are in early September in Tampa.  Keeping the arena cold enough to freeze the new ice means every door had to be shut tight.  It took several days to get the arena cool enough after the Rod Stewart concert and whoever left the door open probably was given a lesson on how ice and Florida heat don’t mix.

    In fact, they had to wait a couple days to get the arena cold enough after Rod Stewart's concert.

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