Home Ice Wins: The Danbury Ice Arena

The On-Ice Team at Danbury Ice Arena. Ice and Facility Manager Jim Brundage (second from left) is holding the Commissioner's Cup, won by the Danbury Hat Tricks.

Home Ice Wins: The Danbury Ice Arena

It’s been a winning year for Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, CT. Its professional ice hockey team, the Danbury Hat Tricks, is one of 11 teams that make up the Federal Prospects Hockey League. On Sunday, they edged out the Carolina Thunderbirds on home ice in an exciting Game 5 overtime duel to win the Commissioner’s Cup. It’s their first championship in franchise history.

Utility costs down 30%

It’s not the only big win for Danbury Ice Arena this year. In June, with the help of incentives from Eversource Energy, they installed a REALice water treatment system for the twin pad facility. REALice, a 3D-printed de-aerator made in Sweden, uses pressure instead of temperature to deliver floodwater at a lower viscosity and higher density compared to hot water floods. It basically acts like hot water without the expense of heating it. By switching to REALice-treated water to maintain the ice, Ice and Facility Manager Jim Brundage says it’s saving the facility 30% less each month in utility costs compared to when they flooded with hot water. That’s another big win for the arena.

In fact, Brundage was instrumental in getting REALice into the Danbury Ice Arena, something he wanted ever since he happened to watch a Swedish Hockey League ice hockey game — a couple of years before he started working at the Danbury Ice Arena…

The Best Ice in Malmö, Sweden

The Malmö Arena Ishall on December 21st, 2018.

The Malmö Arena Ishall on December 21st, 2018.

Håkan Grönlund (left) with Jim Brundage at the Danbury Ice Arena, May 2023.

Håkan Grönlund (left) with Jim Brundage at the Danbury Ice Arena, May 2023.

Brundage was in Copenhagen, Denmark – and decided to take the train across the Oresund Bridge to Sweden to take in a hockey game. The IF Redhawks Malmö were playing at the Malmö Arena Ishall. (The City of Malmö is, coincidently, the home of Watreco AB‘s vortex process technology that includes REALice, distributed worldwide by H2OVortex s.a.r.l.; the Ishall was an early adopter). The Ishall also boasts having “the best ice in Malmö“, something Jim would see for himself on the evening of December 21, 2018.

Good Looking Ice

“Being an arena guy, I’m always interested in how other rinks operate,” he explained to Håkan Grönlund, CEO of H2OVortex during a recent meeting. “I’d bought a ticket for the hockey game and asked the the folks at the box office if I could hang out with the operations team. The ice at the Malmö Arena looked really good, and I wanted to know how they did it. They took me back to the flood room and showed me the set up and explained it to me. I was intrigued.”

Never Any Hot Water Floods

“Malmö Arena has never seen any hot water floods since it opened in 2008,” explains Grönlund. “That’s 15 years without the expense of not just heating the floodwater, but also the refrigeration plant in removing the heat from the floodwater once it hits the ice to get it to freeze. That’s a big saving for any arena, just like they’re seeing in Danbury.”

On the ice at The Danbury Ice Arena

On the ice: the main rink at the Danbury Ice Arena.


Brundage says he had butterflies when he got on the ice resurfacing machine right before that overtime win.

“Before that overtime period, they had their regular 16 minute intermission. I hopped on the machine, cut the ice and it was frozen by the time they got back on, which is what you want from the ice,” Brundage explains. “The Hat Tricks dug down deep and found what they needed, scored that overtime goal, and then the party began!”


Brundage says the ice got trashed pretty good after the win. Confetti got down into whatever cut marks were there — champagne too. Afterwards, Brundage and the on-ice team edged hard and shaved deep, taking three loads of snow off the ice and now building it back up. Just because the season is finished for the Hat Tricks, it’s far from over for the Danbury Ice Arena.

“In two weeks we have the Pre-Draft Camp for the Jr. Hat Tricks, our NAHL team (North American Hockey League – Tier II Junior),” Brundage explains. “Patrik Stefanwill be back to coach. Those kids are will be on the ice 4-6 hours a day.”

“The ice will take a beating, and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

Online Training

We’ve just launched the REALice Training and Certification Course. This online course, which can be done from a computer or smartphone, takes just over an hour to complete and is loaded with tips to make sure your ice is top notch. Once successfully completed, with a passing grade of 80% or more, you’ll become a REALice-certified Ice Meister, complete with course certificate and badge. The course is FREE for up to to five operators with the purchase of each new REALice system; existing customers, please reach out to learn more.

Great Ice – and Great Financing, Too

Financing your REALice purchase makes a lot of sense. We work with the National Energy Improvement Fund’s Commercial Energy Finance Division for equipment financing. NEIF, a certified B Corp®, can finance up to 100% of costs for improvements that make businesses resilient, energy efficient, healthy, and comfortable – like REALice. Stay liquid, and benefit in many cases from financing, rebates and tax savings. Send us an email and we’ll send you a 1-page brochure from NEIF – as well as the information we need to put a rink savings profile together for your rink.

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