Unexpected ice malfunction shuts down Ron Ebbesen Arena
The Ron Ebbesen Arena will be shut down for about two weeks while the City of Airdrie and its refrigeration service provider investigate the cause of a malfunction to its chiller.
On May 18, arena staff was told the temperatures inside the chiller were dropping. By 5 a.m. on May 19, staff decided to shut off the system after an ammonia tube burst causing the temperature to drop.
Due to the malfunction, both ice surfaces have been melted and cleaned up and Arena Manager Greg Lockert says it will take about two weeks to fix.
“We have identified where the problem is, but we want to test all the tubing,” said Lockert. “Within two weeks, or in the first part of June, we should be back up and running.”
Lockert says he is sympathetic to the user groups affected by the problem, but there were no other options to salvage the ice.
“We have told those groups to book in the Plainsmen,” said Lockert. “There are no other options than that for the next two weeks.
“We feel bad about it. The guys are working weekends and working nights to get it all back up and running.”
One aspect of the malfunction Lockert said he finds suspect is the fact that the chiller system in the Ron Ebbesen Arena is less than three years old. Chillers typically have a life span of 15 to 20 years, he added.
“Our service provider for refrigeration has this chiller installed at other rinks, and the panic is on for them,” he said.
Only the gold ice will be replaced once the system is running, as the City had plans to take out the ice on the blue side of the rink.
Costs for the repair are not known at this time, but Lockert says the arenas do not budget for malfunctions and may have to ask City council to approve required funds.
The cost to replace the ice surface, excluding manpower will be about $5,000.