Project Of The Week: Ice Rink Concrete Coating

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In the beginning of 2011, the design team of the new home for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary, Alberta, decided the floor of a hockey rink was the most effective choice to enhance their ice hockey exhibition. 

Who did they able to turn to for assistance? 

Polyurea Concrete contractors that utilized polyurea-based products to transform plain surfaces into real representations of water and ice.

Virtual Ice Rink at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A chance event caused Tyson Long, president of Calgary-based Hardscapes Inc., to the new home at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame museum located in the city of Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park in which Tyson Long used clear and white Polyurea coatings that transformed the museum’s floor Ice Hockey exhibit space into a virtual ice skating rink.

Long was employed within the exact office in the same office building as Pacific Group Displays, a Calgary-based exhibit-display company that was contracted to design and construct the exhibits in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Being familiar with the work of Long, an employee of the display firm approached him about the possibility of installing polyurea-made ice to the exhibit and he was willing to accept.

Utilizing polyurea products, which were embedded with the chopped fiberglass with red vinyl strips Long transformed the surface into a fake ice hockey rink in one week.

The basis for Long’s polyurea work comprised a concrete slab that was poured two inches below the floor in the exhibit’s adjacent hallways. In order to allow wheelchair access, the workers at Pacific Group Displays added 2 inches to the thickness of the floor by putting two layers of plywood on top of the concrete slab and then installing tracks to hold glass exhibits. The polyurea material was intended to be laid flush with the tracks’ tops so that they would have an even look to the foot of displays Long adds.

Two crew members laid down a layer of roofing material and metal mesh lath material to reinforce the material, then multiple coats were laid. Thin Finish with the broken fiberglass pieces included in the first coat to provide an additional layer of reinforcement. Long constructed”ice,” or white “ice” using three coats polyurea with a universal tint pigment, in Titanium White.

To make the ice hockey arena marks, Long and his crew used red vinyl strips that were supplied from Pacific Group Displays over White polyurea. “They wanted the design to look as real as possible,” Long says. “So We decided that we would embed the lines of the rink into the design as opposed to creating a painted-on effect.”

In addition to that to give the floor an even depth and “flooded” look, the builders added two coats of clear polyurea at 75 sq ft per gallon.

In the initial topcoat, they added a loonie Canadian dollar coin, which is thought to be to be a lucky charm for Canadian teams of curling and hockey participating at the Olympics. The legend of the lucky loonie is rooted in the 2002 Winter Olympics, when both the women’s and men’s hockey teams were awarded gold medals when an Ice rink maker placed an ice rink with a loonie that was used to host the event.

One of the challenges Long had to overcome in working on the track for the display. Long says to stop the polyurea from getting through the track, he had to fill the tracks with rods for the backer (foam rods used to seal joints that connect construction products).

Visitors got their first glimpse of the replica ice hockey rink that is a fitting tribute to the well-loved Canadian game, at the time that the Canadian’s Sports Hall of Fame building was inaugurated on Canada Day on July 1 2021.

This Project at a Glance

Project Specifications: Approximately 1,000-square-foot polyurea floor coating that resembles the appearance of ice

Timeline One week

Client The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Exhibit Designer/Installer Pacific Group Displays Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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