Experience was a big part of that choice. There had been two previous college hockey games outside in football stadiums and SGASi played a crucial role in both. The first was the "Cold War" at Michigan State University in 2001, which set the record for attendance at an outdoor hockey game. Then there was the aptly named "Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic" at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Each venue has its unique characteristics and for this game, we chose to use a decidedly different approach. The Camp Randall field has an 18 inch crown and a surface of springy artificial turf. The challenge was to create a level surface over the crown of the field that would support the ice sheet and not deflect under the weight of two 8,000 lb. Zambonis. Protecting the artificial turf while neutralizing its deflection was another high priority.
Using topographical survey data and proprietary software, SGASi's CAD department was able to create a precise 3-D model of the field and the platform. Each 4'x 8' section was then cut to exact dimensions and labeled. Once on site, the 561 pieces quickly dropped into place to create a solid, level platform in less than half the time of previous installations.
"The system flew together on site but before we could congratulate ourselves we had to know how it performed under load," explains Tom Hilton, President of SGASi Production Services. "When I got the thumbs-up from the Zamboni driver, I knew we'd done a great job."
Over 55,000 fans flooded the stadium, which literally rocked when the crowd erupted with the famous Wisconsin "Jump Around", igniting the home team into a come from behind victory. It was an unforgettable experience for all. Understandably, other colleges are now thinking of duplicating the success of this game and SGASi is ready to help them when they do.