The NHL season has been paused since March 12 due to COVID-19, with the fate of the rest of the season uncertain as society continues to grapple with the pandemic. League officials and fans would like the season to continue once it is safe, but that time may not come until late spring/early summer, which will pose some unforeseen challenges for many teams around the NHL.
TSN recently interviewed Jared Dupre, an ice technician for the Carolina Hurricanes for the past eight years. The Hurricanes were the first wild card spot for Eastern Conference, hoping to make another deep run in the playoffs, which this season would most likely entail hosting games in July and August.
“That would probably be one of the bigger challenges we would ever have to deal with in this building,” Dupre told TSN.
North Carolina gets incredibly hot and humid during those months, as do many other cities who’d be hosting NHL matches this summer, and while PNC Arena (home of Hurricanes) is equipped to handle some humidity, playing in July would add an extra level of difficulty.
“Our building has desiccant dehumidifiers on the roof and we try and pull the temperature down and the humidity out of the building, but once the doors open it’s basically null and void . Because once the doors are open and all that hot, humid air starts coming in , we can’t pull it back out with the people in here. You get 15,000-plus people in the building for a game, you’re adding to the humidity with people talking and yelling and screaming and the general body heat warming the air,” Dupre explained.
Dupre said this wouldn’t just be a problem for the Hurricanes, but any NHL team across the eastern seaboard. This would include teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.
Dupre explained it’s impossible to tell how much this will affect the quality ice during games, since it is still unknown when these games will even be able to be played, but it will be something the NHL will have to take into consideration once games resume.