Media Release | Jan. 30, 2013

Where’s the puck? Time-lapse video shows extreme makeover of UBC rink to Davis Cup tennis court

UBC is releasing a time-lapse video of the transformation of UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, which is now ready to welcome Canada’s and Spain’s top tennis stars for the Davis Cup. The facility, which boasts three ice rinks and was a hockey and sledge hockey venue during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, goes through a surface and technology makeover to become a world-class tennis venue.

Assignment/multimedia editors: A 40-second time-lapse video of the transformation is available. To preview the video on YouTube, visit: To download a copy of the video, visit:  UBC staff involved in the transformation are available to speak to media.

Taking more than 1,600 person-hours to complete, the conversion of hockey arena into tennis venue included removing the ice and rink boards, rolling out and testing the acrylic tennis court flooring, adding seats and bleachers, and setting up a Hawk-Eye system and screens to track when balls go out of bounds. This was done from Jan 21 to Jan 28.

For the second year in a row, UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sport Centre was selected as the venue to host the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie. This year’s event takes place February 1-3. Last year was the first time in eight years that Canada made it to the 16-country World Group.

For more information about the event including a schedule,  parking and tickets, visit:


Facts about the transformation

  • 1,600+ person-hours to complete
  • 1,300 additional bleacher seats added
  • 10 cameras installed for the Hawk-Eye system that tracks the trajectory of a ball. The court is digitally mapped and the 10 cameras are used to create digital graphics of the plays to determine if the ball was in or out of the lines.
  • 2 LED screens measuring 10’x20’ installed

Ice removal
Ice is rarely removed for an event – often it is left in the arena and flooring is layered on top. To melt the ice, warm water is run through pipes underneath the ice surface and the temperature of the air in the building is increased. As the ice begins to soften, it is shaved off manually. After it has completely melted, water is sucked up with an autoscrubber. The entire process takes about 12 hours.

Building the court
The Davis Cup is played on an acrylic hard court, approximately 20mm thick. After the ice was removed, the court was rolled out on the concrete surface like a carpet in 7′x60′ rolls. The seams were taped together and to the floor using double sided tape. Tomko Sport Services installed the court surface. A team from the International Tennis Federation verifies the accuracy of the lines and court characteristics by testing things like speed and ball bounce.

Facts about Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre

  • Features three rinks, UBC’s Sports Hall of Fame, a 4,000 sq. ft. high performance training centre for elite athletes and 13 dressing rooms
  • LEED Silver certified
  • Home to the UBC Thunderbirds men’s and women’s hockey teams
  • Vancouver’s NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, frequently use the arenas when their home rink is unavailable
  • 20+ hours of weekly public programming sessions including minor league hockey programs, recreational programs and public skates
  • 650,000+ visitors annually
  • 80+ hockey games played per week
  • 3,300 pairs of skates sharpened annually
  • Hosted 7 different NHL teams for official team practices

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Heather Amos
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.3213
Cell: 604.828.3867



Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Photo by: Chris Borchert

Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Photo by: Chris Borchert

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