Hitting the ice
It’s the third period, a tied game, with less than five minutes to go.
All ice maintainer Chris Traviglia can think about is whether or not he will need to lay a new sheet of ice down for the overtime period.
Traviglia, an MSU alumnus, has been working with the ice maintenance team at Munn Ice Arena since 2008, where he began as a student employee and worked his way up to a full-time staff member.
“I’ve grown up playing hockey all my life, so it’s nice to be able to be on this side as opposed to just playing it,” Traviglia said.
Before every open skate session and varsity hockey game, Traviglia and the rest of the ice maintenance team must ready the ice by preparing the edging around the sides of the rink, flooding the ice and, finally, laying down a fresh sheet of ice with the electric Zamboni.
“I can appreciate a good ice-make versus a bad ice-make,” Traviglia said. “You don’t want to go out there in skates and catch a rut in the ice and hurt yourself.”
During MSU varsity hockey games, the ice maintenance team must deal with a variety of obstacles to control the quality of the rink, which easily can be damaged by broken panes of glass, loose pegs on the nets and, most frequently, tough ice conditions affected by warm air from thousands of hockey fans.
“We have problems with the ice freezing completely, so that’s a little bit frustrating, but we make it work,” he said. “The game goes on.”