Skaters enjoyed summer ice in Kenai for the first time this year at their multi-purpose facility, thanks to a weeklong hockey clinic with the Mid Island Hockey Schools (MIHS) from Canada.
The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association (KPHA) sponsored the clinic. The facility operated very successfully according to Russ Milstein, of DR Ice Inc., the company contracted by the City of Kenai to install and maintain the summer ice.
"The conditions of the ice we thought were excellent. Actually the instructors from the MIHS hockey school said it was some of the nicest ice they had skated on in a long time. We kept the ice temperature at 16 degrees so it was very hard and fast," said Milstein. Originally Milstein had anticipated having to run both compressors at the facility full time to maintain the ice. However, they found they were able to maintain the ice with about 40% less power than what was originally expected due to the efficiency of the refrigeration plant. "The system did an excellent job, and I think it's a credit to the City of Kenai and how they selected to have the system installed and the product it produced for the community," added Milstein.
13 year old Tory Coursen of Sterling does a spin at the Kenai ice rink recently as the Denali Ice Club had a summer training session at the rink.
There was so much interest in the ice once it was put in for the camp that the City of Kenai decided to sell after hours skating to groups like the Denali Ice Skating Club or kids who wanted to play shinney hockey. It was very comfortable for the kids as well as the parents with the air temperature averaging about 50 degrees and the long daylight hours. It was like skating on outside ice in the middle of June, and many parents commented that it was great being able to take their kids to skating practice without having to go out in the cold, dark winter nights of Alaska. "My daughter would most likely be plunked down in front of the television right now if it wasn't for the ice being open. I wish it would be kept in all summer long," commented a father as he laced up his daughter's skates.
Milstein said that both the MIHS Hockey School and the KPHA hope to make the camp an annual event.
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