Updated: WesBanco Arena Installs Modular Ice After System Failure
Editor’s note: The headline and lead of this story have been updated to reflect that the new ice system at WesBanco Arena is modular, not temporary. WesBanco Arena Executive Director Dennis Magruder said the system, which is the same the NHL uses to host its outdoor Winter Classic games, could last for up to 15 years.
WHEELING — WesBanco Arena was outfitted with new, modular ice on Wednesday after a failure in its ice-making system occurred last month.
The modular ice system, which will cost $330,000, will allow the Wheeling Nailers to host their first home game of the season on Saturday and should last well beyond the end of the season, Arena Executive Director Denny Magruder said.
“The ice is very important to the overall programming of WesBanco Arena,” Magruder said. “(The Nailers) play a minimum of 37 games a year at the arena, and we are the home of numerous amateur teams including all of the area high schools and travel teams.”
Wheeling City Council on Tuesday heard the first reading of an ordinance to transfer $330,000 in Arena Restricted Capital Improvement Program, or RCIP, sales tax funds to WesBanco Arena. The money is to reimburse the arena for the costs of purchasing the new ice system.
The system was mostly installed as of Wednesday morning with arena staff working to finish the job, Magruder said.
WesBanco Arena announced Sept. 26 that a failure in the facility’s ice-making system occurred after staff began the process of forming it. Staff are still evaluating what caused the failure, Magruder said, which he believes happened under the arena’s floor.
The closure caused several events to be relocated, including a preseason Nailers game, the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church anniversary celebration and the 2019 Osiris Shrine Circus.
The Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority Board, which oversees the arena, held an emergency meeting to consider options ahead of the 2019-20 Nailers season. Arena leaders interviewed companies to install a temporary ice surface.
“The ice will last for a long time. There’s no question it will last through the end of the season,” Magruder said.
Next, the city and the Sports and Entertainment Authority Board will have to go “back to the drawing board” to determine how to finance a new, permanent ice-making system for the arena, Magruder said.
The Nailers play the Indy Fuel starting at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at WesBanco Arena in the first hockey match on the new ice.