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How a UNB alumnus became the official rink engineering consultant of the NHL

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Oct 23, 2020

Category: Inspiring Stories , UNB Fredericton , Engineering


When Ian Storey (BScME’96) left UNB with a mechanical engineering degree in hand, he never imagined he’d become an entrepreneur.

Ian had developed an interest in energy efficiency and energy systems early on in his bachelors’ program and geared his courses toward a career at an energy utility. But after graduation, with few prospects for that kind of work available, he took a job in the aerospace industry managing international engineering contracts. After a few years of gaining experience in complicated project management over many time zones, he finally landed a job at Nova Scotia Power in Halifax. Although he enjoyed working in the energy sector, he felt he wanted to go deeper, so hung up his own shingle in 2001 to pursue consulting work on the side. By 2005 he was able to go full-time and open up an office back in his native Prince Edward Island. It was the beginning of a hugely successful career as an entrepreneur.

Ian’s company, I.B. Storey Inc. has grown from one to 18 employees over the past decade – including 7 other UNB engineering alumni - in large part by carving out a niche making hockey rinks and industrial plants very energy efficient. Ian has been a leader in using the latest energy efficiency innovations for cooling systems, refrigeration plants and energy management in facilities in the recreational, commercial and industrial sectors.

His relationship with the NHL grew organically, and he’s been doing more and more work with them since 2014, when he started knocking on doors to get a foothold. He’s obviously been doing something right, because in September of 2020, I.B. Storey Inc. was named the official Rink Engineering Consultant of the NHL.

“It’s really exciting that this partnership has happened,” he says. “There’s a lot of excitement on the island and disbelief that a PEI company is going big-time in the NHL!”

Ian and the company are helping community rinks across North America with critical infrastructure issues and identifying potential sustainability upgrades in their respective facilities. He says the NHL has a “direct commitment to community rinks to help grow the sport and provide accessibility.”

“A lot of facilities across North America are reaching out to explore what’s possible in upgrades. We have projects wrapped up now in Illinois and Utah and one in Dallas is underway. We’re working with a lot of rinks in Ontario and of course a couple locally here in PEI. We’ve been able to reduce the energy footprint by up to 40 per cent in some of the arenas.”

Before the pandemic hit, Ian was on the road a good deal of the year meeting with clients. Now, there’s much less of that happening in person. But he says planning and work is still happening. “The playoff bubble was a huge success, and I’m confident the sport will continue to thrive. In the NHL, everything they do, they do it well.”

Of his training at UNB, Ian says, “I didn’t appreciate how solid my education was until I got out into the working world. I wish I had taken a few entrepreneurship classes. But the skills I gained at UNB, combined with seemingly random opportunities like aerospace work and managing contracts from afar ended up being advantageous. I didn’t know it then, but all of these things fit together to help me be successful in what I’m doing now.”