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NARCE Notebook: Columbus Offers Ideal Setting

06/16/2014, 12:30pm MDT
By Paul Batterson - Special to USAHockey.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The North American Rink Conference and Exposition moved to Columbus this year after being held in Detroit in each of the past three years. This year’s event, which was held May 19-22, was the first of three in a row that will be held in the Ohio capital.

Nationwide Arena, where the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets play, is with walking distance of the Columbus Convention Center, where the conference was held. The proximity to the rink and a strong presence at the NARCE in the past made central Ohio a strong choice for the convention.

“We rotate the site selection around in the Midwest,” said Cory Portner, director of membership for the USA Hockey. “Columbus became a potential destination when we were looking at sites because we’ve gotten a lot of support from rink operators and employees from Ohio coming to the conference. We thought it was probably time to come into the Ohio area.”

Lucky Timing

The conference avoided a logistical headache when the Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated by Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Had Columbus beaten the Penguins and made a long run into the playoffs, the conference would have struggled to find ice rinks to conduct its clinics.

“We’d love to see them go deep into the playoffs, but we had ice rented over at their facility,” Portner said. “If they would’ve gone deep in the playoffs, we would’ve had to look for other rinks.”

Green on Ice

One of the classes added to the conference this year was on energy management. The seminar took a look into alternative solutions such as solar power and wind power to provide the energy needed to run a rink.

“Right now we’re big consumers of electricity and natural gas,” Portner said. “We’re trying to cool the surface of the ice while heating the rest of the rink to keep it comfortable. We’re in constant conflict, burning dollar bills while trying to manage both ends.

“So we’re constantly exploring new ways of building our rinks to make them more energy efficient by using natural resources and technologies.”

Notes

According to Portner, the NARCE event pulled in participants from nearly every state that has an ice rink facility as well as participants from Japan, Canada, Europe and Australia. … The expo had companies offering four different ice resurfacers, including the traditional Zamboni as well as the Olympia, Sport Ice and the Italian-manufactured Engo.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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