April 13, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

A Clean Sweep

by Neil Ament/CHN Photographer

DENVER — (As one of CHN's photographers at the Frozen Four, stationed by one of the tunnels, Neil Ament got a good view of the work crew.)

During the extended media timeouts at the Frozen Four, two crews (one at each end of the rink) went to work cleaning the excess snow from the ice.

If left to their own devices, goaltenders pile the snow thick along the outside of the posts to hinder opponent’s wrap around attempts. Though the job of cleaning up the excess snow has been informally around for decades, the NHL mandated it in recent years. The Pepsi Center crew did it, by extension, for the Frozen Four as a matter of course.

This year's Frozen Four saw the task done by almost a dozen people. Each crew consisted of a man on skates with a shovel and several helpers, who piled the snow for the "shoveler" to scoop up and place in a garbage can. Yet another man was responsible for cleaning off the glass in front of the photographers.

Rodney Tietsort has been cleaning the snow from the ice at Denver area hockey games for over 40 years. He first started at Denver Spurs games in the Western Hockey League in 1967. He moved on to McNichols Arena and, eventually, Colorado Avalanche games, including their Stanley Cup runs.

Tietsort says that Ray Bourque was the most appreciative of his efforts, routinely thanking him. Without much hesitation, Tietsort says that Claude Lemieux was the most critical. Much of what Lemieux would tell Tietsort is not printable on this web site.

Though mostly unnoticed, Tietsort and his crew did a wonderful job keeping the ice as smooth as possible between Zamboni runs (not to mention the glass in front of my camera).

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