SCSU Ice Tech Taking His Talents to the Olympic Games in 2018
ST. CLOUD -- One of St. Cloud State University's own will be showing the world what he can do at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
Herb Brooks National Hockey Center Assistant Director Cory Portner ensures the ice is perfect for every Huskey hockey game. He's now going to ensure perfect ice for the competitors in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Portner says he and his team will be there about a month before Olympic practices kick-off since they have a lot they're responsible for.
"[I have a] competition facility that houses both speed skating and figure skating competitions. Then I have a separate sheet of ice dedicated for figure skating practice sessions, then another sheet of ice dedicated to speed skating practices sessions."
He says all of them have to be coordinated for installation, and the timelines have to be specific to whatever event is happening. Markings for the competitors and even the exact color of the ice for the tv broadcasts are things Portner has to consider.
Even with all the special Olympic considerations, Portner says his crew can get each complete install done in about a week. Which he says is more time than usual.
"I'm building in about a week per ice sheet to install. In a given application, maybe in a community building, you wouldn't need quite that long, you'd need maybe 4 or 5 days to get your ice in."
While he sets up the ice for a large hockey program within the state of hockey on an almost daily basis, Portner says his nerves are a bit racked now that he'll be on the Olympic stage.
"[I don't know] if it's totally set in yet. I'm still a little nervous, I want everything to go well, so I'm trying not to put the cart in front of the horse so to say. But I'm approaching it like I have with many of my events where there's a worry factor, but there's also a confidence factor."
His nerves may keep him sharp but his confidence is well-earned. Portner has done work on several international events supporting the efforts of USA Hockey and Figure Skating. He says after five or six years of those events, he has been able to build the relationships that have now led him to the biggest stage in sports.
When it comes to his experiences in Korea, having been there eight times Portner says he's not worried about current tensions. Saying he's aware of the situation, but he's never felt unsafe or threatened on any of his trips to the country.
Portner says he hopes to bring his family to the area sometime after the games when he can relax and enjoy them experiencing some of the things he has.