One of the things we enjoy most about our business is helping clients solve their AV challenges, big or small. We were recently approached by Manchester Storm Ice Hockey Club to help them with just such an issue.

One of the big challenges with Altrincham Ice Arena, the Storm’s home rink, is the sightlines from the stands to the ice. To combat this and make for a better fan experience Manchester Storm Ice Hockey Club were keen to improve the fan experience by offering screens or a projection which can show a camera feed of the action from the ice.

The addition of a media feed could not only help with the sight line issue but also offer the advantage of being able to show action replays and extra content such as introduction footage, game information, advertising etc. so the club were keen to investigate the possibilities.

History – Dizzytron

So first of all, a little bit of history, Dizzyfish were initially commissioned to come down to the Storm Shelter and install screens in the past and we did this via the construction of a “Dizzytron” which was a structure containing screens on three sides which was suspended above the centre ice. There were a number of reasons we approach it in this way, unique building features, game night set-up and budget being the main ones.

Ultimately this solution worked for quite a bit longer than we initially anticipated but unfortunately due to the lock-down which occurred at the onset of the Covid19 pandemic the screens were shut-down, and as a result the electronics got cold and wet which unfortunately led to the demise of the  poor “Dizzytron”.

The Challenge

There are a few things that offer really ‘interesting’ challenges in putting ay sort of AV into an ice rink. First of all is the main problem that the building requires ice therefore the environment needs to be cold and wet. As everyone knows, involving any level of water with electronics is never a good thing.

Next we have the issue of, very solid,  pucks being hit (often at great velocity) around the building. In many ways over the years we have come to believe that hockey players use speakers, lights and screens as target practice, despite the various measures put in place to protect all of these things. So ultimately whatever we did, it absolutely has to be robust and able to protect the equipment or certainly able to withstand the rigours required.

So bearing this all in mind, we spent time investigating new solutions, from projection systems, where throw distance (distance projector needs to be from the surface to get an image which is large enough and sharp enough) and brightness (ice rink lights are BRIGHT), become a challenge through to individual screens around the arena – where again there would be the issue of requiring environmental casing to protect electronics from the harsh environment. Like-wise although a jumbotron would be amazing , and is on every teams wish-list, it brings with it further infrastructural challenges in terms of simply supporting the structure and ultimately the costs involved in a robust enough commercial system is often well out of the puck park.

The solution

So the solution we initiated was a large screen installation. This installation is completely next level and is a really exciting addition to the facilities at the ice arena for both the fans and the Storm organisation.

A large screen offers a high enough brightness to be easily viewed while the full game lights are on and so becomes a resource that can be used throughout the game night.

We selected this particular screen type based on a number of key specifications:

  • All components are housed in weather tight casing – meaning their environment is controlled.
  • Offers a higher definition of picture.

A lot of commercial screens have pixels which are 8mm apart. We were concerned about this due to the speed on movement on the ice perhaps leading to a blurred or grainy effect. So we spec’d quite a bit higher at 2mm pixel distance to give a higher definition even when viewed at an acute angle.

  • Auto-switches on as soon as there is a feed.

It is important that resources such as these are easy to just set-up and use and an auto-switch on offers just that … just add an input and away to go.

  • Tied into the existing audio system.
  • It is a modular installation.

We had a certain space available, due to the position of the beams on the side of the building, and with this system we could build to the available size. This set-up also allows for expansion of screen size or replacement of panels if required and basically just helps to future-proof the whole system.

Due to these specifications  this particular screen type can be fitted almost anywhere allowing us to choose the optimal placement and location to meet the needs of the client.

The result

We are delighted with the final result which offers a large sport screen experience (a fairly impressive 6 metres by 3 metres to be exact!). For the fans, this provides the size, brightness and definition required and for the club itself, an installation that is versatile, easy to use and simple to maintain.

This has been a really exciting  project to work in partnership with the club on and we are delighted with the end result.

We made plans to incorporate a digital screen at the tail end of last season.  We wanted to have an opportunity to engage with our fans and give them more value for their money.    
The screen has exceeded our expectations from a fan engagement and digital advertising platform.  We have been inundated with request for advertising, incorporated fan engagement games and of course it has added so much for our team to watch replays and highlights as the game gets streamed live.    
The investment is worth it from a professional standpoint and most definitely from a commercial revenue stance.  We are so happy with how it’s turned out.  

Ryan Finnerty, GM of Manchester Storm IHCRyan Finnerty, General Manager - Manchester Storm Ice Hockey Club

If you want to talk about any big screen ambitions for your club or venue, to enhance your game night experience, then drop us a line.

Dizzyfish / Dizztribution

Dizzyfish are an AV integrator based in Scotland. We provide specialist, bespoke audio visual solutions for domestic and private clients throughout the UK.

Dizztribution, ‘AV Products By Installers, For Installers’, are a supplier of quality AV products to the AV, electrical, IT, networking and security trades.

Dizztribution are trade-only distributers for All-Rack, Aquavision, AudiMaxim, AudioFlow, Beale Street Audio, Cobi Cabling, Evolution, FSR Inc, HIDEit Mounts, iEAST Audio, KableMate, Klein Tools, Partizan, Pulse Audio, Simply45, Super-Rod, Vanco, Zero-Ohm.

We are the sole UK distributors for: AudiMaxim, Beale Street Audio, Cobi Cabling, Evolution, FSR Inc, iEAST Audio, Pulse Audio, Vanco, Zero-Ohm.

To view our products and sign up for a trade account, visit our Dizztribution Online Shop.

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