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By Doneen Durling
Reporter
Posted at 6:00 AM   

WINCHENDON — People driving past the industrial park on Route 140 may wonder why there are cars parked outside of Mylec Hockey, a company famous for dek hockey equipment. There is nothing necessarily essential about dek hockey unless you really love to play — or there are hospitals in need of help during a coronavirus pandemic.

Mylec has recently become an essential business because it is making flooring for tents being set up all over the country to meet the needs of hospitals during the growing COVID-19 crisis. The flooring, called DEKMAT, is manufactured to withstand heavy traffic.

Mylec is working with Progressive Emergency, a company that provides municipalities with tents and equipment to set up outdoor hospitals, triage centers or whatever is needed. Mylec President Rick Laperriere said he has previously worked with the Texas company that is now building medical tents for hospitals.

“When immigrants started rushing to the (U.S.-Mexico) border,” said Laperriere.

Mylec has been working on flooring for the last 10 years. The flooring surface has an added advantage of assembly without tools, and is a good, strong addition to the emergency response tents that receive a lot of traffic.

“They love our flooring because the people aren’t in the elements and not touching ground,” said Laperriere. “If by chance if it got blood on it, they can power wash it and steam clean it and it doesn’t hurt it,” he added. “If they want to move to another area, they just roll the floor up and move on.”

The Winchendon company remains busy during the coronavirus business shutdown, though many other manufacturers have closed their doors.

“We are working on a very large order right now,” Laperriere said in a phone interview on Tuesday, March 31. “We are working overtime so we can get it out ASAP.”

Laperriere described the flooring as made up of polyethylene materials and was originally made for tennis courts. The use for the surface evolved into dek hockey rinks and is also used at NASCAR tracks, where it is often found in garages.

Laperriere said he was not sure if Mylec flooring is being used in tents being constructed on some college campuses, such as Keene State, with the help of the National Guard. He said the flooring provides a way to keep feet out of the elements as staff perform their duties without getting soaked.

Laperriere noted that the Mylec employees are practicing social distancing while putting in the overtime.

“We’re only a few people at this point, and then my wife comes in and Lysols all the door handles,” he said. “The last thing we want is anyone getting sick.”

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