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17th IAKS Artificial Ice Rink Management Conference in 2018

First time in Austria
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The 17th IAKS Artificial Ice Rink Management Conference was held at Telfs Sports Centre from 15 to 17 May 2018. Some 125 representatives of the European ice rink industry met in Austria for the first time in the event’s history. The conference was supported by the Ice Rink Operators’ Platform of the Austrian Institute of School and Sports Facilities (ÖISS), which was holding its annual meeting in Telfs.

The event was opened by host Christian Santer, the head of Telfs Sports and Event Centre. The modern sports centre offers everything the athlete could wish for: a partitionable triple-court hall with a bouldering wall, three indoor tennis courts, three squash courts, a bowling alley, a grassed football pitch and a minigolf course. These facilities are joined by the Ice Sport Arena, a privately operated ice rink operated all-year-round, and the “Bergstation” climbing and bouldering hall run by Tyrol’s Alpine Club. For events, the dome tent is available all-year-round, with public ice-skating also taking place here in one of Tyrol’s most beautiful ice sports facilities from October to March.

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photo: IAKS

After this, Dietmar Gruber, Managing Director of Arena Halls Sport- und Hallenbau, presented the operating model of the Ice Sport Arena and impressed his audience particularly with the facility’s highly refined control opportunities for all building functions, enabling energy consumption and operating costs to be efficiently controlled.

In between presentations by the exhibiting companies, Marc Riemann, head of pool operation management of “KölnBäder” (Cologne’s public swimming pools), reported on the “KölnBäderApp” to round off the first day of the conference.

In an exhibition accompanying the conference, a total of 12 companies presented their product innovations for the industry.

In the evening the conference participants met in Innsbruck for a cosy get-together in the “Theresienbräu”, Tyrol’s biggest brewery tavern.

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photo: IAKS

The second day of the conference got started with the general meeting of the Association of Ice Makers (VDEM). After over 30 years of tireless efforts, association founder Dieter Matz from Berlin handed over the chair to Peter Lautenschlager from Regensburg.

Hansjürg Thüler of the Swiss Advisory Office for Accident Prevention presented the latest findings on diminishing the risk of injury with impact-reducing boards. On this basis the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation has become one of the first federations worldwide to officially classify certain board products as impact-reducing.

”Legal requirements governing the operation of cooling towers at ice sports facilities” was the subject of Matthias Just, Managing Director of GfKK – Gesellschaft für Kältetechnik-Klimatechnik (manufacturer of refrigeration and cooling equipment).

Peter Lautenschlager, Plant Manager of the Donau-Arena in Regensburg, shared his experience of video surveillance in sports arenas. Dieter Matz, Honorary Chairman of VDEM, reported on the state of negotiations with GEMA (Germany’s performing rights organisation) concerning a new scale of licensing fees for the use of music in ice sports halls in Germany.

After the lunch break, Dieter Matz, Rudolf Funk from Austria and host Klaus Meinel from IAKS discussed the origins and ongoing development of training schemes for skilled staff in ice sports facilities in Germany and Austria.

In the spring, IAKS with the support of numerous ice hall operators had collected operating data for a comparison of the costs of artificial ice rinks. The findings from this survey were presented by Uwe Deyle of Planungsbüro Deyle.

After this, Benjamin Bührer of Leplan AG in Switzerland explained the “Minergie” label for artificial ice rinks.

In the afternoon, Dietmar Gruber presented his thoughts on the future of ice sports. Rainer Maedge, President of the Cologne Ice Hockey Club “Die Haie” and President of the Ice Hockey Federation of North-Rhine/Westphalia, underlined the need to build new ice halls from the point of view of clubs and associations. In his opinion, ice sports clubs should show more initiative in developing local solutions for the modernisation of existing or construction of new ice sports halls in cooperation with municipalities and other partners.

Finally, DI Gottfried Lamers of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism presented public funding programmes for climate protection in ice sports halls.

On the programme in the evening was a visit to Innsbruck’s Olympic Sports and Event Centre. Under the umbrella brand of “Olympiaworld Innsbruck”, the Olympic Hall, the Tiroler Wasserkraft Arena, Tyrol’s Tivoli Stadium, Tyrol’s Land Sports Centre, the skating hall and the “Olympia Eiskanal” bobsleigh track are uniformly operated and marketed.


On the third and final day of the conference, participants had the opportunity to share their operational problems, challenges and experience in a total of three workshops. The workshop on the duty to uphold public safety and liability in various usage scenarios was chaired by Peter Lautenschlager. The workshop on risk assessment as a management task was run by Georg Wieland, GfKK, while Uwe Deyle hosted the workshop on measures to boost the performance of refrigeration plant.

IAKS wishes to thank everyone involved for the successful conference and looks forward to seeing everyone again soon – the best opportunity being the 21st IAKS Ice Maker Training Event in spring 2019.