From Hardwood to Hockey

For the first time in its storied history, Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena hosted a two-sport doubleheader in the same day, requiring a changeover from the basketball court to the ice rink in record time.
Photo of the Lawler Rink basketball court.
Lawler Rink has never seen a transition from a basketball court to a hockey rink in the span of one day before.

The moment the Merrimack College women’s basketball game on Friday, Dec. 1, ended, a different team took the floor at Lawler Arena.

Literally.

This team comprised Lawler staff and Merrimack student workers who for the first time in the College’s history transitioned the arena floor from a basketball court to a hockey rink for a two-sport doubleheader in the same day. The team of about 30 had less than six hours to get the ice ready for the men’s hockey game against No. 4 Boston University on Friday night.

“This is the first time the school has undertaken this tremendous endeavor and we are doing a great job,” said Richard Gallant, H’15, who oversees the transition process. “Hats off to all the students and we look forward to getting it done on time.”

The process begins by disassembling the 94-by-50-foot court, which has more than 200 panels, and then removing a subfloor over the ice and installing the plexiglass on top of the boards that surround the rink. The basketball floor panels are stored in a facility outside of Lawler.

“It is going to be cool once we get it done, which we will,” said Trym Kyvaag ’24, the lead student worker and a member of the men’s soccer team. “We gave ourselves about an hour buffer to get the job done but an hour goes by really quickly when you are doing this.”

The team will be right back to work following the men’s hockey game to convert the floor back to basketball for the Merrimack men’s team’s 7 p.m. tipoff against UMass Lowell on Saturday.

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