Skates will soon glide in Merritt once again as city staff work to install the ice at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (NVMA). With the lines and sponsors painted, and the first few layers already laid, City of Merritt Manager of Operations for Recreation and Facilities, Dave Zakall, told the Herald that the surface should be complete within a matter of weeks.

The ice surface at the NVMA is approximately 1.5″ thick, made up of multiple layers that fuse together to create a bond stronger and more durable than traditional flooding-style installation. The ice is painted white with environmentally friendly paint, followed by the lines being painted on the newly white surface before more layers of water are added to create a protective layer of ice.

Marius Auer/Herald

As a part of the ice installation process, city maintenance staff utilize both standard sizes hoses and flooding machines to prepare the sheet for the season ahead. The ice is utilized primarily by the Merritt Centennials, who will host their British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) rivals at the NVMA 26 times this season. It is also used by the Nicola Valley Skating Club and Merritt Minor Hockey Association, as well as a number of recreational hockey leagues.

Besides their planned hockey school, camps, and preseason games, the Centennials will first hit the ice for the BCHL’s 2023/24 regular season on September 22 at 7:05 p.m.