DENVER (CBS4) – As the saying goes, “Change doesn’t happen overnight.” Yet, at the Pepsi Center it has to with four days of back-to-back Nuggets and Avalanche playoff games this week.
“It’s a divide and conquer type thing,” Matt Mennona, Director of Conversion at Pepsi Center, said.
Mennona and his 22-man conversion crew work in the middle of the night, flipping the hardwood into an ice rink and back again.
“I always wanted to play professional sports. This is as close as I’m ever going to get,” Mennona said with a smile.
A day-to-day conversion – ice to court, or court to ice – takes about four hours with the full crew. To convert the ice rink into the basketball court, the crew has to take down 220 pieces of plexiglass, lay down 600 pieces of floor to cover the ice followed by another 233 pieces of hardwood.
“It’s kind of like a giant puzzle,” Mennona told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into making this.”
It is the same routine as the regular season, but for playoffs, Mennona said the feeling is different.
“It means more,” he said. “Everyone feels like this is our chance to shine.”
That’s why every behind the scenes crew is going into overtime. From the floor-flipping staff to the producers who create brand new videos for each game to pump up the crowd, even the team behind the interactive LED bracelets given to fans in the stands.
“People are paying top dollar for these tickets,” Steve Johnston, Executive Producer/Director of Game Presentation, said. “We want them to h
ave the best experience they can possibly have.”
Colorado fans are proud of the teams that made it to the postseason, and there’s a lot of pride for those who change the stage.
“At the end of the day, you can sit back at your house and be like, ‘I took part in that. This is my work. This is our work as a crew,’” Mennona said.
After the Avalanche game Tuesday night, the conversion crew will change the ice rink to hardwood for the Wednesday night Nuggets game. Mennona said they’d likely begin the process at midnight.
“You don’t really have a sleep pattern,” he said. “You live off naps. We’re exhausted, but it’s fun.”