Wednesday, May 22, 2024

In the Cards: Stafford’s crew, hockey’s glue

By Mikai Bruce

The men’s and women’s hockey teams have had great success this season, winning its own championships respectively. While they deserve credit for their accomplishments this season, there is another group of people who have been paramount to the success of the Cardinals on the ice this season as well. The crew that works on the rink and other things for the games are of importance to the teams and do many things that help setup go smoothly.

“For setup we have a checklist of things that our student workers do to prepare for the games,” Head of Athletic Facilities Brady Burleigh said. 

Some of the things on this checklist include getting reset nets set up for the officials and getting the game nets out onto the ice. Drilling holes in the ice for the goal pegs, edging the perimeter of the ice using an ice edger and chopping excess ice off the bottom of the boards using an ice chopper come next. The Zamboni is then driven into the rink for resurfacing to get the ice into top shape. 

“Most of that latter work is completed by me since I am in charge of the ice arena,” Burleigh said. 

The average fan wouldn’t know that all of these things go into the hockey games, but these are things that, if left not done, would dramatically change the nature of these games for both the fans and the players. These are the unsung heroes of the hockey games and they make life much easier for the Cardinals.

“They do a great job clearing the parking lots for the fans to park and all the sidewalks to create safe walkways. On weekends, like this past weekend when we get a lot of snow, this is critical so it’s always much appreciated by athletics,” Athletic Director Mike Howard said. 

This is the part of the crew’s job that the fans can really appreciate, especially during the influx of winter storms Plattsburgh has gotten lately. Having safe walkways and clear spots to park in makes the fan experience a lot more enjoyable.

“It’s all the behind the scenes stuff that makes the game flow so smoothly,” Robert Henn, an ice rink employee, said. He carries out many of the aforementioned tasks around the rink. The things the staff does really does make the game flow without a hitch.

The crew that sets up the rink make it so the players and fans are safe, things run smoothly, sales go well and the games are just an overall fun experience. The hockey teams have had great success over the years and that is in some part thanks to the professional and hardworking crew that is in charge of the overall setup and maintenance of the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.

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