Clyde Curlers take to the ice on Wednesday
When the Clyde Curling Club launches their season Wednesday night, members will undoubtedly notice a slightly different sheen emanating from the pebbled ice.
The club has installed three brand new computer-generated roll-on sheets that were designed by a Thorhild-based company known as Hack to Hack Solution Inc.
Jim Rau, the club’s ice maker, was busy all last week flooding the rink and getting the ice ready for competition. He says the new sheets, each worth $4000, were incredibly easy to install, about an hour and a half for all three, and will save the club hours and hours of tedious painting over the coming years.
“In contrast, I did Westlock’s ice last year, and the painting that they do there is probably a day or two preparation and then a full day to do the painting and another day to clean up.” Each spring, when curling season is over, the paint is removed and washed down the drain. The following fall, the process is repeated. Not only is this costly–Rau says Westlock’s four sheets cost between $600 and $700–it is wasteful in both time and money. “Each year, you have to cough up the money again.” Rau says, “it never stops.” Well now it has.
Hack to Hack president Kevin Grumetza has told Rau that the sheets should last between five and seven years. “It’s all iffy, because it’s something new,” Rau says “the last plastic sheets we had, they estimated the same thing, and we had them fro 17 years. “If you clean them up nice every spring and wash them off and let them dry, I can’t see them not lasting a good ten years. The only thing that could go wrong is all the lettering and the lines that are painted on. Perhaps after, pick a number (of years), they might start to flake off.”
The sheets are also energy efficient. “Rather than turn your plant on two weeks before, you can throw a small splash down and get the ice half level before the sheets of on, and then you just add water.” The sheets are one piece and run the entire length of the surface, hence the name, “Hack to Hack”. Each comes emblazoned with the company logo or names of those who laid out the cash for the sponsorship. “It’s not like a lay-over,” Rau says, “it’s permanent. As long as the sheet lasts, their name is on there.” One sheet was sponsored by Danny Shank Holdings (Dan and Bev Shank); another by Clyde-based Westlock Sand and Gravel (Richard and Rose Sabourin, Mark and Cindy Sabourin). The third sheet was a collaborative effort by a group of Clyde businesses: KBJ Round Farms (Barry and Dette Round, Jim and Rita Round), M&L Farms (Mel and Louise Nyal), Centennial Developments (Dennis and Lorrain Nyal), and PD Farms (Doug and Florence Nyal).