New Era Field Begins Transition to Outdoor Ice Rink

Switch from field to ice began shortly after Bills game

Mike Baggerman
December 17, 2017 - 8:00 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN) - Shortly after the Buffalo Bills wrapped up their game against the Miami Dolphins, team officials from the Bills and the Buffalo Sabres began the transition from the gridiron to the ice for the USA/Canada game on December 29 for the IIHF World Junior's Championship Tournament.

First, a flat, wooden platform will be installed by All-Seasons Rental on the field.

"Monday morning, Ice Rink Events will start loading in all the ice-making equipment," Stan Makowski, Jr., the Sabres VP of Arena Operations, said. "The chillers, the hoses, the piping, all that fun stuff start loading in to build that rink. Eight or nine days later, we'll have ice to skate on."

Water will then be sprayed to build ice along with the creation of the lines and logos.

About 15 to 20 people work around the clock to make the outdoor ice rink come to life.

"There are challenges," he said. "Ice Rink Events is a company we've partnered with. They do this all over the world. They do this in South America. We're thinking Buffalo, New York in the middle of December is the right place. There shouldn't be anything we can't overcome...The one thing that could be a bit of a challenge is the sunshine but that hasn't been an issue so far December so we think we're in good shape."

Should it snow during the game, the plan is to shovel it during intermission. If heavy snow were to come down, Makowski said extra shovelers will be on hand.

Rob Crean, the Director of the IIHF for the Sabres, said the excitement level is extremely high in the days leading up to the tournament.

"The teams are starting to arrive in North America over the next couple of days for their pre-camp tournaments, their exhibition games in the region," Crean said. "Then they'll arrive in Buffalo (on Friday)."

The IIHF World Junior Championship's begin on December 26 and go through January 5.

LISTEN: Stan Makowski and Rob Crean's interview with WBEN

NEF Transition - Stan Makowski & Rob Crean.mp3

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