From pucks to pebbles; preparing ice for Scotties tournament

By Clark Stork
January 3, 2018 - 5:00pm

North Battleford’s Wayne Cubbon has travelled the world creating curling ice, including for the women’s provincial championships at Melfort’s Northern Lights Palace.

Normally home to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Mustangs, the best nine women’s curling teams from across Saskatchewan have moved in for the Viterra Scotties Tournament of Hearts that began Tuesday. Cubbon said the local arena staff did a great job preparing the ice for the transformation.

“The ice was really level when we got here. It saves us a lot of time when it comes to flooding,” Cubbon said.

The crew sealed the hockey arena ice with treated water to not allow any of the untreated water used everyday to tarnish the curling surface. Once that’s accomplished, the ice makers then paint the ice white. After roughly 12 floods, the crew will then carve out the houses with a router before the rings are painted. That step is followed by about 12 more floods. The team of workers will then lay decals for the six-day event.

“We measure the centre of the rings, run strings, measure where we want the decals. They go in really easy,” Cubbon said.

Cubbon was an ice maker in North Battleford before getting a chance to volunteer at the 2010 World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current. From there he’s worked on ice in Austria, Japan, Switzerland and many other centres in Europe while working for the World Curling Federation. He said the ice at the Palace was seamless outside of a battle with the frigid temperatures leading up to the event.

“The condenser outside froze up while we were painting. We had to have it cold and the machine didn’t like the minus 40 Celsius weather,” he said.

Draw four is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday. Cubbon said through the first three draws and 12 games there has not been any issues.

“The surface is really good, it’s nice to slide on; they’re all happy,” he said.


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On Twitter: @ClarkStork

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