Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 12, 2003

Sterner lights up sports arenas across America

By Julie Yurek

Without the services of Sterner Lighting in Winsted, many of the National Hockey League (NHL) teams competing in this year's playoffs would be shooting in the dark.

Nine of the 16 NHL arenas that were used in the playoffs this year are lit by Sterner Lighting fixtures, said Sales Manager Joe Frey.

Since 1993, about 65 to 70 percent of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and NHL facilities have been lighted by Sterners, Frey said.

From 1995 to 2002 was when most of the sport lighting was completed, he said.

Arenas using Sterner Lighting products include the Xcel Center in Minneapolis, Staples Center in Los Angeles where the LA Lakers, LA Kings, LA Clippers, and LA Avengers play, McNichols Arena in Denver where the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and also Vancouver's General Motors Place where the Wild battled the Canucks recently.

Sterner's offers arena lighting luminaires, seating lighting, maintenance lighting, emergency lighting, floodlighting, parking lot lighting, and custom lighting.

"Lighting equipment is tailor made for each sporting facility," said Dale Maus, computer controller at Sterner Lighting.

Considerations taken into account in arena designs include television broadcasting, spectator and player considerations, and theatrical considerations.

Multiple camera locations are needed for television broadcasting.

Lights should minimize glare for spectators and players, provide highest levels of illumination on the court with gradual decrease into seating areas, provide balanced illumination on athletes and reduce shadows on playing surface, and provide a system design where illumination does not impede the quality of the picture projected from the video scoreboard, according to literature provided by Sterner Lighting.

Sterner Lighting offers many options to choose from, depending on the effect that is wanted.

It has lights that offer "blackout," "instant on," and "no light leak" systems.

It patented four areas of its sports lighting system: the Para II, Arc-Stream Aligner, mounting system, and a motorized shade system.

Sterner employees do not install the lights, Frey said. General contractors for the arena hire a different company to put the lights up, he said.

Frey does visit every arena that Sterner's provides lights for to measure and adjust the illuminace, he said.

"There is a minimum and uniform criteria that must be followed by the leagues," he said.

Sterner's arena team works with the design team from concept through final project.

Some facilities have more lit fixtures than others, but all must have the same illumination level, he said.

The NBA and NHL's engineers and architects give Frey the requirements that must be met for uniformity in arenas, Frey said.

Frey also makes recommendations on what he thinks should be done, he said.

Sterner has a five-year warranty on its lights, Frey said.

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