From rodeo to rink: Covelli ice crew does quickest turnaround

The Covelli Centre ice crew did something over the weekend they haven't done before. Set a new sheet of ice in less than 72 hours.

YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WYTV)-From rodeo, to rink. The Covelli Centre ice crew had a task unlike any they have done before. Wild West to Arctic Tundra in about 72 hours.

“We have always had at least a week in between so this is like…surprise,” says Rick Ruby the Ice Engineer of the Covelli Centre.

“We have guys that have been here going on 20 hours,” said Ryan Phillips the Operations Supervisor for the Covelli Centre.

On Sunday evening, the actual ice making process began with water, a lot of it. In all, over 10,000 gallons of water are used to make the fresh sheet. After the base layer of water freezes, the crew mixes together more water and a white powder. Then apply that layer by layer to give the ice its color.

“It is pretty neat though, people don’t realize it is water,” says Ruby.

“People ask me how we do it, it is just water, paint, and patience.”

“I’ve had conversations with quite a few people and they look at me like I’m stupid when I tell them how we do it,” said Raymond Pratt, the Operations Lead at the Covelli Centre.

After the white is down, it is time for the more creative part of the process. On hands and knees, the crew paints each line by hand.

“A lot of pride out there,” said Ruby.

“Everything that someone paints, they all put their initials on it, it is something that we started years ago.”

“It takes a toll on your body, but I mean, everyone in this building loves what we do,” says Phillips.

Most of the ice crew has been together since the Covelli Centre opened in 2005 and they tell me that every new sheet of ice they do, they get closer to one another.

“You form a relationship,” says Pratt. “I mean you go to each others children’s birthday parties, you go to parties at each other’s house. You become real close.”

“I wouldn’t do it without them,” Ruby says.

“It is a team, so we are in Youngstown doing the same thing, it is the same thing they do in Pittsburgh or Cleveland,” says Phillips. “I like to think we can do anything those big arenas do in the same amount of time.”