September 13, 2007
ACC will cool off
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
The calendar may still say summer, but we are approaching fall and "that" time of year once again. It is time to gear up for another NHL season.
As you know, every team in the league is switching over to a new "state of the art" sweater that boasts being more streamline and able to wick away heat and moisture keeping players more comfortable.
The Toronto Maple Leafs jersey is available beginning today for fans wanting to look the part for the official start of camp at Lakeshore Lions Arena today and the pre-season schedule that opens Tuesday.
Beyond their new wardrobes, players in Toronto are celebrating arguably even bigger news. The ice at the ACC promises to be a whole lot better this season -- break out the mittens and extra scarf if you are heading to a game this season, you'll need it.
Last season player frustration bubbled over, some even broke their silence to media, lamenting that theirs was "the worst ice in the NHL."
Constantly being converted to accommodate the Raptors, the Rock, big concerts and events it is tough to blame the rink crew -- this hard working gang does everything it can with what it has in this ultra-busy venue.
Regardless of the "why" there is no denying that bad ice can equal injury; strains and sprains are commonplace when you so often get stuck in a rut.
At the end of last season the math was crystal clear, as clear as ice if you will, at least some of the 400 man-games the Leafs lost to injury last season were "ice related" and contributed to the club missing the playoffs by a measly single point.
Dedicated to improving the club's chances at a post season berth, the powers that be at MLSE opened the wallet in a major way this off-season to the tune of almost $4 million to rectify the problem.
The installation of a monster dehumidifier promises to drastically improve the ice surface -- keeping players happy and healthy and perhaps even give fans another reason to get off their duffs and cheer ... if only to simply keep warm.
-- Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster and personaility with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.