Mosaic Place has seen many variation over the past month, whether it was Warriors Hockey, an Alice Cooper concert, Caesar Millan, and now curling with the 2012 Capital One Canada Cup of Curling.
After the Moose Jaw Warriors last home game last week, crews moved in to start the conversion of the hockey ice to the pebbled ice for curling.
First came the transformation of the arena with the removal of the glass around the boards and then it was time to concentrate on the ice with Canadian Curling Association ice maker Jamie Bourassa coming in from Calgary to do the work.
“It's sort of a tight squeeze to go from hockey to curling with only three days to get it in, but we've had a good crew here and things have gone good so far,” said Bourassa, who did the ice for the World Women's Curling Championship, the Brier and the Canada Cup last year.
The hockey ice stays in during the event and the five-sheet curling rink is built on top of it. “We put a flood on it and then paint it white; mark out all our lines and circles and paint them in; put our divider boards in; put our decals down; and then flood it up until it's level.”
All that work was accomplished in the last week with crews starting right after the Warriors' game against the Prince Albert Raiders last Wednesday and while it might sound as simple as laying down some water and calling it day, there's a lot of time and skill that goes into getting the pebbled ice just right.
“We have what we call a backpack with gravity feed to a cooper head that has different size holes and different numbers of holes in it, and that's what puts the pebble on the ice,” explained Bourassa. “You have to get it evenly across the whole sheet, so you have to be able to walk backwards, crew gum and move your arm at the same time.”
Bourassa adds that it's always nice when the work is done and the curling gets underway to see his work completed, “It's nice to make a good surface for the players to play on, so that's the exciting part. You just hope that you've done everything well and the building treats you right and it's good.
“You have to always have that fear that there's going to be a problem so that you cover all your bases.”
The Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre rocks won't be used in the event, instead rocks were brought in from the Manitoba Curling Association and they also needed some time to prepare, “We have to have them on the ice so that they can cool down. That takes us 48 to 72 hours for them to cool down to the temperature of the ice.”
We'll find out what kind of job that Bourassa and his crew did on Wednesday morning when the Canada Cup kicks off at Mosaic Place. The opening draw gets underway at 9:00am.
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