Even as our eyes and cold noses tell us we’re in the heart of winter, there are signs spring is just around the corner.  Phil the groundhog didn’t see his shadow on the first Saturday of the month, University of Minnesota Crookston Softball has begun playing indoor games and the baseball team is traveling south to play in some slightly warmer weather.  The Minnesota Twins will open there Spring Training schedule opens this Saturday, February 23.  Another sign that winter is coming to an end is the annual removal of ice from the Crookston Sports Center’s (CSC) Gold Arena to make room for the artificial turf surface. 

Staff at the CSC shut off the air compressors on Sunday and worked through the day Monday on the 1-2 day process to remove the ice sheet said CSC worker Will Cross.  “Last night we shut the compressors off to the gold rink,” said Cross.  “After that happens everything starts warming up and will take the Zamboni out and shave ice until we start hitting the logos, circles and that stuff.  Once we start hitting that we know its time we can start going out there and chipping ice and we’ll then use a bobcat to push the ice out the back of the arena.”

The entire conversion process will take about a week to complete.  “Depending upon how thick the ice is in certain spots it can take a day or two to get everything off,” said Cross.  “After that, we begin drying and cleaning the floor before we start putting down turf.  Turf should be down by the end of this week I would imagine if everything goes as planned.”