Client: NHL Chicago Blackhawks – Chicago, IL
Challenge: The Chicago Blackhawks wanted to use their facility for non-hockey events when not being used for team practices, creating additional revenue streams for the facility and the team.
Goals: The Chicago Blackhawks wanted to procure an easy to install and remove ice arena cover system that would allow for quick turnover of Fifth Third Arena (formerly MB Ice Arena), using a limited staff.
Concerns: With limited storage, the facility wanted a compact, yet effective ice area cover system that could be installed quickly, stored in a container, and installed with a small crew.
The Solution: EverBase Ice Arena Cover System.
When Andrea Hahn, the General Manager of the NHL Chicago Blackhawks Fifth Third Arena, contacted the Versare team, the Chicago Blackhawk’s owner ”Rocky” Wirtz was preparing to host a private event for guests of a high-end spirits and beverage convention and conference in Chicago. The plan was to install booths, like a mini trade show exhibition, where suppliers could present their latest offerings.
The Blackhawks needed a portable floor that would look good, be suitable for convention traffic, be installed quickly by a limited crew, and be easily removed and stored for later use.
Versare’s sales executive and designer, Mark Barry, provided product information and a quotation as well as an accelerated lead time of about 2-3 weeks for delivery and installation.
Once the order was placed, the EverBase Ice Arena Cover System was shipped in a single truckload to the Blackhawks, where it was unloaded and stored in an ocean shipping container located in the parking lot behind the facility. Storage was a key issue and EverBase’s 1.2” thickness allowed the required amount of flooring to be stored in the equivalent of a single truckload of space.
On event day, the product was transported on existing shipping pallets into the arena using a forklift, where pallets were staged in rows throughout the rink. EverBase was installed by 8 members of the staff at the arena, from office staff to operations staff as it requires no skilled labor for installation. The ice was dry cut prior to installation, to minimize crewmember and floor slippage during installation.
Ben MacKrell from Versare was on site to assist with cutting of the radius corners (done during the first installation of the flooring) and Arnon Rosan, a Versare customer success rep, was on-hand to help supervise and guide the team. Note: Mr. Rosan has more experience with ice arena covers than nearly anyone else in the industry and has his name on multiple modular flooring patents relevant to the industry.
The rink’s corner radiuses were marked out and then flooring sections were cut outside of the rink using a standard jigsaw, while the last row of flooring modules was cut to width using a standard table saw that the facility had on hand. Simultaneously, flooring sheets were slid off pallets and into position with the male connectors facing the receivers and ready to be snapped down into place. Each sheet is 3ft x 4ft (12 sq/ft) and a typical 85×200 rink utilizes a little over 1,400 sheets.
The typical EverBase flooring installation occurs in 3-4 hours using a crew of 8 people, while the first installation usually takes a bit longer, due to the need to cut radiuses and to train the crew for future installs. 3 As a unique feature of this installation, the Blackhawks wanted to reveal the Blackhawks logo, located at center ice. This required installing the flooring around the logo, stepping it as needed around the center circle and meeting up on the other side. Retractable stanchions were placed around the opening to prevent crowds from going on to the ice and to highlight the team logo for all attendees.
The flooring provided the necessary comfort and traction for the attendees at the event to celebrate over the ice and the event was a huge success.
When the evening was over, leaf blowers were used to clear the floor of debris and mops were used to clean off any dirt or residue from the event. A drive-on floor cleaner can also be used to clean EverBase flooring.
Removal and re-stacking of the cover system occurs in about 3 hours, during which time sections are tipped to 45 degrees to disengage the locking clips and sections are stored on pallets for transport out of the rink. Standard ratchet straps are used to hold flooring sheets on to the shipping pallets (purchased from a local home center).
The Blackhawk’s EverBase ice rink cover system is stored inside the shipping container, outdoors, ready for future events.