Ice issues halt practice

Hole forces delay during scrimmage

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A hole in the ice at James Brown Arena delayed the Augusta RiverHawks' first scrimmage of the season Tuesday afternoon and will temporarily force the first-year team to move to a different venue.

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River Hawks coach Brad Ralph works with the team during training camp Tuesday morning at the James Brown Areana.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
River Hawks coach Brad Ralph works with the team during training camp Tuesday morning at the James Brown Areana.

The hole was discovered in the first period of the team's scrimmage and delayed play for about 30 minutes.

Arena staff responded to the problem, and the removal of cracked ice in and around the hole revealed a gash in the ice about a foot and a half wide.

"It was about the size of a shoebox and it went right down to the cement," RiverHawks forward Matt Auffrey said. "It looked like just slush at first, but then the puck went over it and I could tell something was wrong. You can't play like that. Someone could get hurt."

The RiverHawks resumed their scrimmage with orange traffic cones covering the hole.

Arena general manager Monty Jones Jr. said he wasn't sure what caused the problem. The hole developed along the boards in the same area where a previous hole delayed an Augusta Lynx game almost three years ago.

"It's the same spot," Jones said. "We're going to look at our tests and see what it could be."

The hole that delayed the Lynx's contest came on Jan. 12, 2008, and resulted in a half-hour suspension of play as arena and team staff worked to freeze the ice. A pipe underneath the ice cracked and leaked the brine that is used to keep ice frozen.

RiverHawks general manager Gilles Richard said "a large slab" will be cut out of the ice this morning to get a better look at the source of the problem.

Arena staff had already spent the afternoon replacing broken glass during the morning on-ice session. Defenseman Kirill Doronin laced a shot that flew wide right of the net and struck one of the glass panels.

The glass was replaced in time for the afternoon scrimmage.

Maintenance on the ice, however, could last through the end of the week, which will force the team to move its workouts to the Augusta Ice Sports Center.

Gilles said fans are welcome to attend the training camp's morning on-ice sessions at 10 a.m. at the Augusta Ice Sports Center free of charge.

James Brown Arena is scheduled to play host to a RiverHawks' exhibition game Saturday. The team's home opener is slated for Oct. 22.

NOTE: Head coach Brad Ralph added forward Neil Graham to the training camp roster Tuesday. The team had 23 prospects on the ice for its afternoon scrimmage.

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jb1234 10/12/10 - 08:39 pm
I was at that Lynx game and

I was at that Lynx game and you mean to tell me that after 3 years of knowing of the problem that it hasn't been fixed? Not surprising...just get if fixed permanently before opening night or you'll have a very disappointed hockey fan on your hands.

Pu239 10/12/10 - 08:31 pm
I always thought that if you

I always thought that if you were to have a few strategically placed obstacles (old truck up on blocks, a broken down riding mower, etc) it would add "flavor" to the game. One of said obstacles could be placed at the offending icehole.

airbud7 10/13/10 - 07:21 am
The civic center was a nice

The civic center was a nice place in the 80s I saw Van Halen (2 times), Alabama w/The Charlie Daniels Band, Travis Tritt,(2 times) Tracy Lawrence, Ted Nugent, Tractor Pulls, Motocross,exc. Fix it up or tear it down.

blues550 10/13/10 - 07:57 am
It's a hole in the ice which

It's a hole in the ice which hasn't been used in over a season. Get over it. The arena folks will fix it and we will play on.

Vito45 10/13/10 - 10:37 am
I'm a long time STH of the

I'm a long time STH of the Lynx and local hockey supporter. I agree with airbud, fix it up or tear it down. 1/2 of the reason we couldn't get support for the Lynx was because of the shabby facility and the perception of the public that it is dangerous to park around there. I haven't driven by in a while, but when the Lynx were there and after they left the parking lots looked like they were in a ghost town; weeds growing in the islands, dead shrubbery, etc.

Dee Laurean
Dee Laurean 10/13/10 - 11:27 am
I still remember Mr Troutman

I still remember Mr Troutman standing over that hole in the ice during a game with CO2 fire extinguishers trying to freeze it back. I agree, it would have been easier to fix the piping permanently while there was no ice. Of course, there wasn't a whole lot of warning to go ahead and melt it last time....

colga87 10/13/10 - 07:24 pm
Columbus had an issue behind

Columbus had an issue behind one of the goals that didn't go away until the pipes and floor were completely replaced last summer. I hope everything works out.

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