Longstanding manager at Larry Grossman arena, Tim Macri knows a thing or two about making ice
It’s late August, and general manager Tim Macri is showing off the first few layers of ice on the smaller pad at Larry Grossman Memorial Arena.
“What we do is a slow transition with cooling this floor down, which takes about a week,” Macri explains, surveying the smaller rink that faces north. “We circulate the cold brine with the warm
The Forest Hill Figure Skating Club will be taking to the rink on Sunday, Sept. 7. Forest Hill Hockey Association will be starting its tryouts soon.
Regardless of who uses the surfaces, Macri says, the ice has to be as dense as possible to be of good quality. He should know. He’s been levelling the ice surface at the rink for 32 years.
“There’s a lot of theory into making ice,” he said. “A lot of people just think you fill it up with two or three inches of water and let it freeze. That’s not the case. You get poor, poor ice quality.”
He proceeds to describe how, when water freezes it draws in oxygen, and with oxygen come ice crystals and air gaps.
“You ever hear of the term ‘pond ice’?” Macri asks. “The pond sits there, it draws in oxygen and it breaks away.”
The transition from smooth concrete to full-on ice surface takes about two weeks, Macri said, adding it can be sped up, but here at the Chaplin Crescent and Eglinton Avenue West facility they take a little extra time.
From this initial stage, one that happens after putting a mist nozzle on a regular garden hose and spraying water up into the air and letting freeze on the impact of the surface, they run the Zamboni over for a couple of hot floods.
Then comes the painting of lines, faceoff circles and net markers. The process is repeated again, to help sandwich the paint between layers of ice.
Larry Grossman Memorial Arena is city owned, but they operate outside of the usual Parks and Recreation budget. The arena is one of 10 board-run facilities across the city, which also includes North Toronto, Moss Park and Leaside.
“We cover all of our own costs, generate our own revenue, so we don’t go back to the city for money,” Macri said.
On staff are six full-timers and about 15 part-timers.
Among the full-time staff are Jason Clemente, who runs the pro shop; Leigh Macri, who handles the snack bar, and Peter Asaro, who tends to the vending operations.
“We’re busy — pretty much 100 percent booked prime time, and 85 percent for daytime, which is unheard of for daytime ice,” Macri said. “We’re busy, which enables us to have one of the lowest ice rental rates in the city of Toronto.”
All in a day’s work for Macri, whose face lights up when he thinks about the coming season.
“I’m excited this year, though,” he said. “The Forest Hill Hockey Association has three GTHL teams — Friday nights will be their night, so all three teams will be here — [and the arena] is going to be rocking for the season.”