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Ryan Bakken, Forum News Service, Published January 24 2013

Too cold to make ice, hockey postponed

GRAND FORKS – The Crookston (Minn.) Sports Center couldn’t make ice Tuesday because it was too cold.

Huh?

Too cold for ice?

Strange but true, said Scott Riopelle, Crookston’s park and recreation director. “It’s kind of a phenomenon, I guess,” he said.

The crippled ice-making system resulted in the postponement of Tuesday’s girls hockey games between Crookston and Thief River Falls, Minn. The system has been “tweaked” and is back in working order.

Riopelle explained it this way: “Put in layman’s terms, what happens is that you have to pull the heat out of the ice to cool it.

“As the water ran through the condenser outside (the building), it started to slush up and gel in the pipes. We couldn’t get rid of the heat, so we lost the ability to cool.”

Engineers and refrigeration professionals were consulted, and adjustments were made to the system to keep it from reoccurring. The system was working again on Wednesday.

“It was a freak of nature, kind of like the perfect storm,” Riopelle said.