ASU hockey benefits from sustainability efforts in the rink

ASU hockey teams practice in rink that uses an electric Zamboni machine, among other efforts

Oceanside Ice Arena has hosted ASU Hockey since its inception, but what many may not know about the rink is its commitment to sustainability for the last decade. 

The rink uses an electric Zamboni machine, as well as other environmentally friendly products in the rink. 

The Zamboni 552, which is the model the rink uses, is electric and completely emission-free. 

Oceanside has used the electric machine since 2009, something Oceanside Director of Facility Operations Brad Priest said the rink is very proud of.

"At Oceanside, we can proudly say the current management team has a long track record of identifying the importance of air quality for our athletes and patrons operating an electric Zamboni since 2009," he said. 

The clean air in the rink is generally well-received by staff and players, Priest said.

"I think the workers all appreciate having better air quality in the environment they work in," he said. "As for players, I think they too appreciate exerting their bodies within a facility free of CO2."

Along with the use of the zero-emission Zamboni, Oceanside said it strives to be sustainable and environmentally friendly in all aspects of the rink.

"All of our cleaning products are green certified," Priest said. "We also use an organic pest control company that uses 100 percent eco-friendly products."

Electric machines have been a topic of discussion in the ice rink industry for a while, Priest said.

He said that hockey hotbeds like Minnesota "have grown to standardize their practices in monitoring air quality through fresh air intake and utilizing zero-emission vehicles."

A 2011 article written by USA Hockey Magazine discussed the importance of air quality in the rink and its potential effects on player health, pointing to machines being powered by fossil fuels as one of the factors commonly linked to poor air quality in ice rinks.

The Environmental Protection Agency has guidelines for air quality including the types of ice resurfacing machines and ventilation systems.

The article recommends rinks that do choose to use gas-powered ice resurfacing machines should get them emissions tested, similar to a car, as well as ensuring that the rink has proper ventilation. 

Cameron Grams, a sophomore studying business and a forward on the D2 ASU club hockey team, said he is happy with the air quality at Oceanside. 

Grams also helps coach a local high school's hockey team, and that team practices at a rink with a gas-powered ice resurfacing machine, which Grams said makes a difference in the way he and the team skates. 

"It's more difficult to breathe," he said. "They'd be taking puffs after their shifts and stuff like that." 

Grams said he notices that even he runs out of breath faster at AZ Ice Arcadia, which is where the high school team practices. 

"There's definitely a difference in air quality, and I definitely feel myself running out of breath a lot easier than I do when I'm practicing with ASU," he said. 

ASU is pleased with efforts Oceanside makes for the sustainability of its rink and the safety of the players, the University said in an emailed statement.

"ASU supports any steps that move our planet toward a more sustainable and resilient future," according to the statement. "The incorporation of zero-emission equipment at Oceanside Ice Arena is great for our players, fans and community."

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