Stars rink manager Tanner Baker has been helping with the Ice Box’s ice installation for about twenty years, but the feeling of a job well done never gets old.
“It’s a piece of art when we’re done; it really feels like it,” Baker said. "There’s an extreme level of satisfaction that comes with producing a sheet of ice."
Baker’s staff consisted of twelve people working around the clock (over 80 hours), during the week and on the weekends, to get the ice up to their standards in a timely fashion.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Baker continued. "This group of guys has done this many times so it’s not like I have to teach them much ... I just organize the steps. The guys all know what to do and they hit the ground running as we prepare each step.”
The weather in Lincoln didn’t make it easy on them, reaching a heat index of 108 degrees when the installation was originally scheduled in late August.
“Making the decision to postpone for a week really put the odds more in our favor,” Baker explained. "The process is much more difficult when it’s that hot outside and we can’t seal in each layer. The paint would roll and separate from the water … it would be a mess. We were able to reset, regroup and get everything done the week after."
The 2021-22 Stars practiced on the ice for the first time on Monday and will continue to practice at the Ice Box until they depart for Cranberry Township, PA next week for the USHL Fall Classic!