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I saw a video on LinkedIN that I couldn’t wait to share with you. In it, Kevin Grumetza from Hack to Hack Solution Inc. and Ian Tettly, the ice make at the Fort St. John Curling Club in Fort St. John, BC are putting in place the liners for the club’s curling rinks. As you can see, it took hardly any effort — and very little time — to get these printed sheets in place. So slick, so easy, this looks like an absolute no-brainer. And, as I discovered, not only do they eliminate the need for ice paint and stencils, they reduce labour costs, energy costs — and are an environmentally friendly solution, to boot.
“At the end of the season, you don’t need to call in the environmental waste companies to properly dispose of the ice paint,” says Grumetza, the owner of Alberta-based Hack to Hack Solution Inc. “All you need to do is let each sheet dry completely, roll them up and store them in the boxes they came in. Then take them out next season and start all over again.”
No Need to Hurry
Although Grumetza recommends planning for a 36-hour window to get the ice into curling shape with help from the digitally-printed liners, the 8-sheet install at Fort St. John beat the clock by an hour. But there was no need to hurry.
“We started at seven o’clock on Thursday morning and threw the first rock out by six o’clock on Friday night,” says Grumetza. “By that time, the ice was just over half an inch thick. When it comes to energy efficiency and saving time and money, these curling sheets can’t be beat.”
Grumetza holds the patent to both the curling and ice rink liners (“accept no substitutes!”) which are durable, reusable and come with a 5-year printing warranty. Word of the Canadian-made, high-value, low-maintenance paint alternative is spreading beyond the North American continent: Grumetza will head to back to Norway in September for his 3rd Norwegian installation, having installed over 900 sheets around the world, personally.
“The personal installs are part of the customer service that comes with each order,” he says. “That customer service extends to the made-to-measure sheets we deliver, to make sure each one fits to each individual rink.”
Grumetza says with their eight liners, the Fort St. John Curling Club will have a Return of Investment of about a year and a half with savings that come from lowered labor costs, energy savings and no need for ice paint.
“Building the ice ‘the old way’ costs around $2,500 per curling sheet.” says Grumetza. “It’s manpower intensive, requires different coloured paints and stencils — not to mention and the two-to-three weeks of running the ice plant before the ice buildup even begins. And,” he cautions, “if you’re ever faced with a ice plant breakdown, losing your ice won’t ruin the season or bankrupt the club because you need to take all the ice out and start all over again: you fix your problem and refreeze your ice. No problem!”
Grumetza says the liners can make a big difference to curling clubs, many of whom are financially strapped because of high utility costs.
“We can’t keep doing things they way we’ve always done,” says Grumetza. “We have to find better ways that make financial sense. This is one of those things.”
Grumetza says at the end of the season, once each sheet is dry they can be re-rolled and stored, ready for action next season. Each sheet can be custom printed, and with curling sheets becoming more accessible to sponsors compared to years gone by, printing custom sheets makes sense.
To find out more about the curling solutions, go to HackToHackSolution.com