Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/25/14 at 09:02 AM ET
from Jeff Eisenberg at PuckDaddy,
When the Phoenix Coyotes hired Canada native J.J. Straker as their ice maker last summer, the new job inspired more than just the usual congratulatory hugs and handshakes from his friends and family.
"There was a lot of excitement because people knew hockey's my passion, but they would ask, 'How are you going to do that there?'" Straker recalled with a chuckle. "Making ice in Arizona? It doesn't seem like that will work."
Cultivating a perfect sheet of ice is a challenge anywhere, but it's an especially difficult job in the National Hockey League's hottest city. The average annual high in the sun-baked Phoenix-Glendale area is more than 86 degrees and temperatures routinely soar past 100 by the start of the playoffs in late April, making it tougher for Straker to produce ice of the proper thickness and consistency than it is for peers who work in cooler climates.
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