4 playoff games in 4 nights: How Pepsi Center crews pull off switch from ice to hardwood

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DENVER — One could call it the perfect storm: For the first time ever, the Nuggets and Avalanche are both playing in the second round of their respective playoffs.

Both play under the same roof, which is creating an incredible flurry of activity inside the Pepsi Center.

“You don’t really have a sleep pattern,” joked Matt Mennona. “You live off naps.”

Mennona is the director of conversion at the Pepsi Center, meaning he is in charge of making the switch from Nuggets hardwood to Avalanche ice.

“Everybody feels like this is our time to shine because we’re on a national stage,” he said.

Following the Nuggets’ win Monday night, Mennona’s team went straight to work, removing the wood and getting the rink ready for hockey Tuesday night.

Tuesday night, they’ll switch it back, and do so again Wednesday.

“Once you get into mid-season form and you start going, it’s pretty seamless,” Mennona said.

Logistically, it’s an incredible feat.

The ice is constantly there, so crews have to cover it with fiber glass and special shims before placing down the Nuggets court.

The conversion takes a team of 22 workers about four hours to complete.

“With basketball, you have to build everything,” Mennona said. “There’s different seating configurations that need to be done, because you’re building out from the boards down, instead of just ripping everything out.”

In total, crews install 600 pieces of fiber glass. The Nuggets court itself is made up of 233 individual pieces of wood.

For the Avalanche, crews have to install 220 panes of glass.

There’s also the production side of things, including the video monitor and overall fan experience.

“It’s all-in, and everybody knows that,” said executive producer Steve Johnston. “It is sort of a whatever-it-takes type of attitude right now. We want to put on the best show for our fans as possible.”

Here’s the schedule they’ll be dealing with this week:

Monday: Nuggets home game 1

Tuesday: Avalanche home game 1

Wednesday: Nuggets home game 2

Thursday: Avalanche home game 2

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