A slick paint job: How the United Center ice gets a fresh coat
CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t played a game since last April, but this week, you could say the team “resurfaced.”
The first preseason game at the united center is still about a month away, but very important Blackhawks team members were on the ice Monday.
Senior Ice Technician Nick Cotsilis and his 7-year-old son Jake helped prepared the playing surface with a fresh coat of paint.
The concrete beneath the ice is chilled to 16 degrees, and the ice on top is a few degrees cooler.
Using a specially formulated paint that adheres to the ice, technicians will take 25 gallons and eight colors to make the lines and the logo for the upcoming season.
“It’s almost like paint by numbers … stay in the lines,” Cotsilis said.
Then they’ll apply a slowly sprayed layer of water that will seal the paint for the season.
“After it’s all done and painted, we’ll be here for two to three days sealing it up nice and slow,” Costsilis said. “You want thin, thin, thin layers, because you want to build up that hard density ice that the players like.”
When it’s all done in 48 hours, there will be about an inch and a half of ice on top of the painted surface. And the white part of the ice, that’s painted too.
“That’s a powdered white we use that we run through a big 10-foot long sprayer and that we actually spray the white onto the concrete,” Costsilis said. “That’s to contrast with the puck and brighten it up for our lovely TV lights and everything.”
The games will be played with the ice at 21 degrees
“The Blackhawks got the best logo in the league, so once you get all those bright vivid colors on and you spray a little clear back on there, it just brightens up the whole place,” Costsilis said.
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