BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The new owners of Deep Freeze — previously the Ice Zone — are relying on the elements to keep the rink frozen after they discovered the Freon mysteriously disappeared from the building when they took over.
Last week, the ice rink inside Deep Freeze on McClurg Road in Boardman was almost a swimming pool. The Freon — an agent keeping the ice frozen — was gone, raising the ice’s temperature to well above freezing.
This could have caused big problems for the Phantom Youth League, which relies on the rink for its hockey games.
Deep Freeze decided to open the doors and use fans to blow in frigid cold air to freeze the ice.
“We took every step to stay open. Fortunately, Mother Nature is on our side and it has allowed us to work an open rink,” said Jesse MacGregor, co-owner of Deep Freeze.
The only problem with letting nature do the work is that the indoor rink feels more like an outdoor one. The air temperature inside is about 20 degrees colder than what it should be.
But instead of being set back for this weekend’s games, the kids braced the cold on Thursday and played anyway.
The cold won’t stop them from slapping pucks this weekend, either. It might even add a little fuel to their game.
“Oh, they’re gonna be playing. Yes, they’re a little angry,” said Peg Dahman, a parent.
Parents and players were excited when the new owners decided to stay open until they could get more Freon back into the building.
“We were thrilled. It showed what kind of owners they wanna be and that they do care about the kids and that they wanna keep them on the ice,” said Dan Lacivita, vice president of the Phantoms Youth Hockey Association.
There will be heaters for people watching, both in the arena and the viewing area above it. MacGregor said it won’t be long before everything is up and running like normal.
“A few hours ago, we have procured the Freon needed for the system. It will be here by Saturday morning at the latest.”
This weekend will be the last the Little Phantoms will have to practice and play in the cold. MacGregor said they are also hoping to be ready for open skate by next Friday.
Boardman police are investigating the possible Freon release.