When three Philadelphia ice rinks were facing closure in the city’s budget troubles of 2008, Mayor Michael Nutter announced that the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation would step in to take over their operation and programming. The foundation did indeed come to the rescue, and the Scanlon, Laura Sims, Simon and Tarken ice rinks have now all received major renovations. They are now fully enclosed, operate year-round and include locker rooms and computer labs.
The renovations saw local A/V contractor AV Rental Services install a new sound systems, based around Community R1-94 loudspeaker systems. ‘Ice rink acoustics are horrible but the system is awesome,’ AV Rental Services’ Bruce Johnson reports. ‘Everyone can understand the announcements; the coverage is good everywhere and the music sounds great.’
Dave Howden, Community Director of Technical Services, believes that the R1s were a good choice for these ice rinks because, as an outdoor loudspeaker, they can stand up to the humidity and temperature of an ice rink. In addition, the R1s have pattern control below 500Hz which helps to minimise echo and reverberation.
Johnson devised custom brackets to work with the R1’s standard U-brackets and to mount the loudspeakers to the open steel framework of the buildings. The systems in all four ice rinks were designed for simple operation with a Shure mixer and microphone and music inputs.
Approximately 2,500 inner-city children play hockey in leagues at the rinks under the Snider Hockey Program, which puts each child on the ice three to six days a week. Each child spends about an hour on the ice and 30 minutes each on homework and ‘life skills.’ In addition, the rinks are open two or three evenings each week for school hockey games and scrimmages.
Unsurprisingly, Johnson says he is proud to have played his part in this very successful programme.