Ammonia leak at Alberni arena forces postponement of Express game

A four-game road trip for the Coquitlam Express that was scheduled to begin in Port Alberni on Friday just got a little shorter.

The team’s game agains the Bulldogs has been postponed because of ongoing problems with the ice in the Alberni Valley Multiplex where the team plays its home games and practices.

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A game Saturday against West Kelown has also been called off.

According to the Victoria Times-Colonist, the facility had to be shut down earlier this week after a small ammonia leak from a newly-installed ice plant was detected last Sunday. A “low-level” alarm indicated a leak of about 25 parts per million, well below a level of 200 parts per million that would trigger the building to be evacuated.

Subsequent investigation traced the leak to a pinhole in weld on a manufactured part.

In a statement the Bulldogs posted to its Facebook page, the team said a setback in the repair effort necessitated the postponement of the weekend’s hockey games.

“We appreciate the hard work of city staff who have put in essentially an around the clock effort to try and save the ice inside the Muliplex,” the statement said.

An ammonia leak in the ice plant at an arena in Fernie two years ago killed three maintenance workers and the evacuation of 55 homes nearby for several days..

In Sept,, 2018, Arena 2 at the Port Moody recreations complex had to be shut down for several weeks after a small hole was discovered in the pipes of its refrigeration system during a routine inspection. The city had to spend $300,000 to install a temporary ice plant and upgrade its electrical systems while the faulty plant was repaired.

The Express will begin its now-three-game road trip against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday.

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