Documents show Canalside rink unable to handle temps about 45 degrees

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Canalside’s ice rinks are becoming the centerpiece of the revitalized downtown waterfront, but for five days latest week the rink was forced to close.

Like many others, Aleah Russo went to Canalside Friday night hoping to get on the ice, she said, “We were expecting to come here and go skating and it was closed so we were pretty disappointed.”

Empire State Development Regional President Sam Hoyt says the unseasonably warm weather was to blame.

He explained, “This is Buffalo, we aren’t used to 50 degree weather at the end of December.”

The rink reopened Sunday, but other rinks in the area did not have to close at all.

The Executive director of Buffalo Place, which runs the Rotary Rink downtown said their rink is much smaller rink making it easier to cool.

However, News 4 found there may be design issues at Canalside as well.

According to a May 2013 Canalside project document obtained by News 4 the rink wasn’t designed to handle the temperatures above 45 degrees.

The document reads, “Making good ice above those warm temperatures will not be feasible.”

News 4 has also learned that during a construction meeting on December 4, the company that designed the rink, Cloward H2O, made equipment change recommendations.

It’s not clear whether those changes will be implemented, all Hoyt would say is that their technical staff is reviewing their ice maintenance system.

“It’s a very sophisticated and complicated mechanical system that we are getting up and running and we are working out some kinks along the way,” Hoyt explained.

The Canalside rink has only been open for just over a week.

At the Rotary Rink, the crew there says experience, not just equipment has helped them stay open even on warmer days. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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