It’s been a summer of activity for the staff at the Fife Ice Arena.
When the ice hockey season ends and the skates have been put away that’s when the hard work begins for rink manager Ronnie Herd and his team.
Whilst on the ice the Fife Flyers have made a flurry of signings to add to the team, off the ice there have been major changes to the venue itself as the rink has made a significant investment into bringing the ‘grand old lady of the Gallatown’ bang up to date as a venue to be proud of.
Ronnie gave the Fife Free Press an exclusive look behind the scenes at the changes which are taking place.
“We’ve been really busy over the summer,” he said.
“There’s been a lot going on and we’re getting to the end of it now.”
It’s been hectic and it’s cost a lot but it’s all worth itRonnie Herd
The first change you notice is when you first walk through the doors.
Fife Flyers’ museum has been taken out and moved upstairs to the Fife Lounge to be replaced with a new office and reception desk for fans arriving on match night.
Ronnie said: “Flyers are getting so big that this will make for a better customer flow, because we obviously have the public coming in for the skating itself, so the current ticket booth will remain in use.”
Going through into the rink itself and the first and most notable of changes are the new plastic barriers which have been put in place around the rink, replacing the old wooden ones.
Ronnie said: “These are solid and should last around 20 years.
“The plexiglass now fits in better and is more solid too.”
The famous ice itself isn’t quite ready yet, though Ronnie said they aim to have it done by the end of this week.
“The concrete pad is in the process of freezing at the moment,” he said.
“Over the next few days we’ll be spraying it with water then on Saturday it’ll be getting painted white before we get the lines painted on Sunday.
“Our aim is to open up to the public next Friday, failing that I think we will definitely be ready for Saturday.”
One of the major investments for the rink has been the purchase of a new ice cleaning machine - an Olympia replacing the familiar Zamboni whilst elsewhere, a new dehumidifier has been installed in the ceiling and half the rubber around the base of the rink has been replaced - the rest will be done over the course of the season.
There are now ladies and gents toilets on both sides of the rink and the press box and DJ booth has been upgraded.
The wooden panels on the outside of the spectators seating have also been replaced, as has the rubber flooring surrounding the rink.
And the plexiglass will also be getting cleaned this week ahead of the re-opening.
Despite all the changes, Ronnie said the upgrading process will still continue throughout the season.
“It’ll carry on. There’s little things to do here and there, paint jobs and the like,” he said.
“We’ve replaced the rubber around the rink and we’ll continue to do that bit by bit in the spectators seats and the stairs.
“It’s been hectic and it’s cost a lot but it’s all worth it. What we’re aiming for is to increase the quality of the service that we provide and make it a more enjoyable experience for the Flyers fans and our other customers.”