The 2020-21 season was a rollercoaster of setbacks for the Gatineau Olympiques major junior hockey team – except for the construction of the team’s new state-of-the-art hockey arena (featuring four full-sized hockey rinks). [Note: In North America, this product line is primarily Canadian-based and, as of publication, many of the products mentioned in this article are available in Canada only.]
The 2020-21 hockey season saw the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques playing almost no games on home ice and experiencing one hiccup after another. Thankfully, the team was able to start the 2021-22 season fresh with Slush Puppie Centre, a brand-spanking-new arena with state-of-the-art amenities and training facilities – all under one roof.
The 220,000-square-foot (20 439-m²) Slush Puppie Centre has a sizable footprint. It features four full-sized ice surfaces (three for community use, figure skating and pickup leagues; the fourth, an amphitheater with VIP booths and a 4,000-seating capacity for the Olympiques).
Project contractors Beaudoin Canada and Construction JPL, and the city of Gatineau, all knew MAPEI well from previous successful projects using MAPEI’s Cementitious & Resin Flooring Systems and Tile & Stone Installation Systems products.
“We had the answer for every need,” said Justin Lafontaine, MAPEI’s Business Development Manager for Eastern Canada. “In recent years, the city of Gatineau and MAPEI have developed a fantastic working relationship built on a number of successful construction and restoration projects, from Maison de la Culture to Fire Station #3. And so, for the Slush Puppie Centre, they had us on the spec from the start.”
When the project was completed in September 2021, Lafontaine noted that it was “by far our largest industrial-flooring systems deployment yet in Canada.” It features Mapefloor I 302 SL epoxy resin with Primer SN and Mapefloor CPU/RT polyurethane/cement-based screed for 5,000 square feet (465 m²) of maintenance areas.
MAPEI on the job
MAPEI’s industrial-flooring systems provide durability and a host of possibilities for decorative finishes. Visitors at the new Slush Puppie Centre’s community entrance and amphitheater entrance (for the main arena) are greeted with a stylish broadcast of Mapeflakes decorative vinyl flakes. These flakes are clearly visible through the high-gloss Mapecoat Universal epoxy-resin seal coat and binder.
Common areas here and throughout the interior were first coated in Primer SN and Mapefloor I 302 SL as an epoxy-resin basecoat. This basecoat boasts easy cleanability and good resistance against the abrasives and salts that are commonly tracked in by pedestrian boots in cold Canadian winters. It also provides a highly attractive, slip-resistant finish that is flat and seamless.
To prepare the concrete slab beforehand, installers from Idéal Epoxy started with Mapecem Quickpatch concrete patch to correct imperfections. They also used Planitop 18 ES high-early-strength, cementitious repair mortar with a corrosion inhibitor for sloping of the floor around the foot grills in the entrances.
In addition, installers used Planigrout 712 nonshrinking, nonmetallic, cement-based grout with a corrosion inhibitor as a protective coat for the steel-column baseplates.
Main arena and stands
The 4,000-capacity seating area for the amphitheater was built a little differently from the rest of the project, using precast concrete that was cured to a very high density compared with the concrete slabs elsewhere. This required a low-viscosity primer to promote a better bond, so installers went with Mapefloor I 900 epoxy resin instead of the usual Primer SN.
Shane Edwards, MAPEI Canada’s Product Line Manager for Industrial Flooring, noted a great benefit of using Mapefloor I 302 SL: “Our Mapefloor I 302 SL is high-viscosity, but it can still be easily spray-applied with no concern about clogging up the equipment. Some contractors want to dilute the product with solvents for spray application, but we don’t recommend it because it can cause issues with the resiliency and color quality of the finished product.”
And as the crew from Idéal Epoxy found out, such dilution was completely unnecessary. In this case, the crew was able to spray-apply 65,000 square feet (6 039 m²) of Mapefloor I 302 SL in a single day, covering the entire vertical and horizontal surfaces for the stands of the main rink.
Taking care of four arenas means that the facility sees a lot of traffic from Zambonis – the heavy machines that are used for ice-rink resurfacing, with each weighing up to 7,720 lbs. (3 502 kg) when fully loaded with water. Therefore, an even more rugged solution was needed: Enter Mapefloor CPU/RT, which features a high level of chemical resistance.
Together with its complementary topcoat Mapefloor CPU/TC, Mapefloor CPU/RT is formulated to cover industrial floors that are subject to heavy vehicular traffic, aggressive chemicals and thermal shock. It was a natural choice for the flooring in the facility’s maintenance areas and service corridors.
One other special consideration was the amount of direct sunlight that many areas of epoxy-resin flooring would be subject to, given the floor-to-ceiling, pane-glass front walls spanning the length of the structure’s main facade. Specifiers determined that an extra finishing coat would be necessary in these and other areas where heavy foot traffic was expected.
Once again, MAPEI had the answer: Mapefloor Finish 53 W/L, where a high-gloss finish was desired, and Mapefloor Finish 54 W/S for a semi-gloss finish. These transparent, protective, aliphatic, polyurethane finishing coats are formulated to help maintain the epoxy-resin flooring’s high aesthetic for years to come.
Tile work, shower rooms and carpet
Installers from Jacques Lamont Ltd. worked with the Green Squared-certified MAPEI Ultralite Mortar – a premium, lightweight, thin-set mortar with BioBlock technology for mold and mildew resistance – for the wall tiling in shower rooms and other wet areas. The floors in these areas were done using Mapecoat Universal with Mapefloor DQ decorative quartz and Mapefloor Finish 53 W/L.
Installers also used Ultrabond ECO 811 high-performance, acrylic latex adhesive for installation of the 1,300 square yards (1 087 m2) of carpet tile in the private loges and other lounge areas. As with the majority of other MAPEI products that were used, MAPEI Ultralite Mortar and Ultrabond ECO 811 are Indoor Air Quality Certified as “Indoor Advantage Gold” by SCS Global Services for their low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
Meanwhile, for the Olympiques, 2021 marked 48 years since the team was inaugurated in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In this league, young men ages 16 to 21 vie for the chance to get noticed by pro scouts and reach the National Hockey League someday (such as current NHLers Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Claude Giroux and Paul Byron).
As an official team sponsor, MAPEI Inc. wishes the Olympiques players much success in their new rink, which hosted their first play-off games in the spring of 2022. May the professionalism that went into the Slush Puppie Centre construction inspire the players to reach even greater heights in the future – including a second Memorial Cup banner to accompany the one that the team captured in 1997.