Langford Coun. Lanny Seaton and Accent Refrigeration’s Greg Hillman stand near the cooling ice at the Sportspex in City Center Park. Juan de Fuca hockey players are scheduled to break in the new ice sheet today.

Breaking the ice

Langford’s new ice rink opens Wednesday; bowling to roll in October

Langford’s new ice rink opens Wednesday; bowling to roll in October

Fresh ice will have a few fleeting moments of peace before young hockey players dig into Langford’s rink at City Centre Park tomorrow, the first new ice in the region in six years.

Late last week crews built up layers of ice to create one and a quarter inch thick slab before the NHL-sized surface was painted and lined.

The 500 seats are installed, but on Friday the Zamboni was still in it’s shipping crate and a few dressing rooms were a work in progress.

“We’ve pushed it to get the kids on the ice,” said Langford Coun. Lanny Seaton, chair of the city’s parks and recreation committee. “The guys have worked feverishly to get this done. I’m optimistic we’ll be open Wednesday.”

Langford’s $14.1-million Sportsplex will offer welcome relief for busy ice sheets at West Shore parks and rec as the hockey season ramps up — kids from the overburdened Juan de Fuca minor hockey will have the honour of breaking in the ice.

Entry to the arena is restricted to scheduled users for now, but the ice rink will quickly become a hive of activity — ice time is booked solid for the next eight months, said City Centre Park operator Kristin St. Cyr.

“There’s a few spots open, but there has been high demand,” St. Cyr said.

As construction winds down, Accent Refrigeration will start tuning its groundbreaking energy recovery system, which promises to capture 100 per cent of heat expelled from the ice plant.

A bed of sand a foot under the ice will absorb and feed heat to high-efficiency heat pump systems that warm running water and change rooms, and melt ice peeled off by the Zamboni.

Expelled heat will help power the air handling systems, which will mercifully exhaust the stink of sweaty hockey gear.

“We might not use it all in the summer, but in the winter we will,” said Greg Hillman, with Accent. “This system will recover all the heat and use a number of creative ways to heat the entire building.”

The heat capture and distribution system is complex, with hundreds of components and control points that need to work in sync. Hillman said it will take time to fine tune the system.

“Once we have a full year behind us we can see how many kilowatts are consumed compared to similar rinks,” he said.

On the other side of the wall from the rink, the bowling centre isn’t quite ready to roll, but it’s getting close. Twenty lanes are installed and levelled, as are rows of industrial looking pin-wracking machines.

Surrey-based XCalibur Bowling under the name Planex has a 20-year contract to operate the centre for Langford.

Crews are working to complete the cedar facade on the building, giving it a definite West Coast feel. The bowling centre has a hard Oct. 22 opening date to reintroduce 10-pin bowling to the region, later than Langford would have preferred.

Design changes in the kitchen and lounge have delayed progress.

“The lounge area has taken a long time. It’s always that way with new buildings,” Seaton said. “But we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty now. The place is starting to look good.”


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