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Toughest jobs in sports: Ice maker for the Arizona Coyotes


Stashed in: Hockey, Arizona

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OK everyone who has ever wondered "How do they make ice for NHL games in the warm-weather cities?"... here's your chance to learn all about it. The icemaker isn't just a guy driving a Zamboni... he controls the thermostat for the whole arena and is responsible for spending millions of dollars.

Perhaps Arizona was not the smartest place to put an ice hockey team:

Cultivating a perfect sheet of ice is a challenge anywhere, but it's an especially difficult job in the National Hockey League's hottest city. The average annual high in the sun-baked Phoenix-Glendale area is more than 86 degrees and temperatures routinely soar past 100 by the start of the playoffs in late April, making it tougher for Straker to produce ice of the proper thickness and consistency than it is for peers who work in cooler climates.

Since the max recommended temperature to produce good ice is about 62 degrees, Straker cools 19,000-seat Jobing.com Arena to about 55 degrees on game days in preparation for the swell of heat whenever a flood of fans enters the building. He also accounts for Arizona's arid climate by humidifying the venue enough for the dew point to reach the NHL-recommended 35 degrees.

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