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    FaZe Kay Epic Fun With PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    FaZe Kay Epic Fun With PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    What do you do when it’s the middle of summer in Los Angeles, and you want to ice skate? Popular Fortnite streamer and YouTuber, Frazier -  aka Faze Kay - and his brother Jarvis, missed the cold weather and ice sports in their native England. 

    Kay’s solution; to have some ice shipped to the Faze Clan mansion so he can ice skate around the pool.After calling Antarctica for a batch of fresh ice, which of course, would melt in the LA sun, he was running out of ideas. Faze Nikan had a suggestion: get a lubricated synthetic material that works anywhere in any weather. 

    That’s when we received a call from Kay! We were happy to help out the clan and sent some of our synthetic ice panels to the Faze Clan mansion.


    Who are the Faze Clan?

    For over ten years, the Faze Clan has been one of the premier eSports organizations in the world. The company competes in several tournaments around the globe, including Fortnite, FIF, Valorant, Call of Duty, and many others. The company’s growth over the years has been fueled by investment from celebrities, entrepreneurs, and athletes like Pitbull, Jimmy Iovine, Offset, and Ben Simmons. 

    The Faze Clan soon evolved into content creation with several personalities on their roster creating Twitch and YouTube content. Famous faces include Faze Kay and Faze Jarvis, who rack up tens of millions of views on their channels each month. 

    The content creators recently moved into an LA mansion called the Faze house, where they spend time improving their craft while creating YouTube and Twitch content. 

    What are Synthetic ice panels?

    Synthetic ice panels are interlocking sheets made of a strong polyethylene compound. The panels are infused with a compound that mirrors the feel of real ice skating. The durable material works with real metal skates and has minimal friction when compared to real ice. If you’re thinking that metal skates will damage the tiles, it’s actually the opposite. The grooves formed by metal skates improve the skating experience over time.

    You can connect the panels to create an ice rink or space for hockey, ice skating, figure skating, or even games like curling. Seeing and feeling those panels were too good to be true. When Kay slapped on his skates and stepped on one of the sheets, he was convinced that this was just what he was looking for.

    Setting things up

    What we did not expect was the brothers to have their own Winter Olympics in the back yard! To start, Nikan set up the rink around the pool. Since the synthetic ice panels need a hard flat surface, the guys also bought plywood to use as a base. 

    Nikan then came up with three challenges for Kay and Jarvis. The winner receives a special mystery box. Since these two had no experience ice skating, this would be a fun way to get accustomed to skates while having some friendly sibling rivalry. 

    Our synthetic ice is great for sports like ice hockey and figure skating. But there are some fun activities and challenges you can do too. Here’s what happened at the Faze mansion and how you can have your own challenges.

    Game 1: The Time Trial

    With helmets on for safety, the guys jumped into their first challenge; a simple time trial. The brothers had 3 rounds to skate around half of the swimming pool as quickly as possible. The fastest time would be the winner of the round, with the best 2 out of 3 the winner.


    Kay easily took the first round but destroyed his time in the second and third rounds. Kay was able to cut his time down to 9.67 seconds. Jarvis got swept 3-0 as he took some time to find his balance in the skates. Even trying to sabotage Kay’s second run was not enough to lose this one. 

    How You Can Do It At Home

    Time trials are a great way to improve your speed, balance, and control on the ice. It’s also a great way to get your competitive juices flowing. For safety, it’s best not to set the ice panels next to a swimming pool. However, you can set the panels in a line in the backyard, garage, or driveway. 

    Have someone keep time, while each person takes turns skating from one end to the other. A group of kids or adults can even turn it into a relay event, where the fastest team wins. Try a time trial event before hockey practice, ice skating practice, or when you have a group of friends over to the house.

    Game 2: The Jump Style Contest

     

    For the second game, Nikan wanted to increase the difficulty. The panels were set up in a straight line that fell off a ledge about one foot high. The goal of the game is to jump off the ledge and land cleanly. 

    Nikan would judge Kay and Jarvis on the style of each jump out of 10. Falling after the jump or leaving the ice after the jump would be an automatic disqualification. The brothers were up to the challenge.This time, Jarvis stepped up. After Jarvis scored only 1 point on his first attempt, Kay fell on his first attempt, giving him a 0. Kay came roaring back with a 5 on his second attempt to Jarvis’ score of 4. 

    With the scores tied, it was down to the last jump. Jarvis scored a 5, but Kay’s unimpressive jump landed him a 4!In the end, Jarvis won the game by two points. With the games tied, there was just one more game left to crown an overall champion!

    Time for Your Jump Style Game

    Figure skaters are known for their impressive jumps and practice different jumping techniques off the ice. But there could be a little friendly competition on the ice! You and a figure skating friend can practice simple jumps on your synthetic ice rink and get a friend to give you a score out of 10.

    If you’re not into jumping, you can try a gliding competition. Set your panels up in a straight line. Take turns gliding the length of the panels on two feet then on one foot. The person to reach the furthest point wins the competition. 

    Game 3: The Lego High Jump Challenge


    Do you think you can perform a jump on the ice? In the toughest challenge yet, the guys set up the panels on the grass, using the plywood boards as a base. In the middle of the ice strip was a wall of two rows of legos. The brothers had to start from one end, skate to the middle, jump over the lego wall, and skate to the end.

    The first person to fail the jump, while the other succeed, would lose the game. But there was a catch. After every round, Nikan would add two more levels to the lego wall. With the competition at its peak, the brothers cleared the first three rounds with ease. 

    At 8 layers high, Jarvis and Kay cleared their jumps. To decide a winner, the wall was set to 10 layers high. Unfortunately, Jarvis crashed into the lego wall, leaving Kay to clear the legos and win the game.

    In the end, Sweedish gamer (and very athletic) Faze Teeqo stole the show, jumping over the 12 rows of the blocks with ease. The guys were so impressed, they gave the prize to Teeqo!

    Ready For Your High Jump Challenge?  

    Do you have legos at home? Set up your own high jump challenge to compete against your family or friends. Jumping improves your strength, balance, and power. You can set a wall of legos like the Faze house and take turns jumping over. If you don’t have legos, a small box will do. 

    If you want to take it up a notch, set up an obstacle course! Use cones, hockey sticks, pool noodles, or anything you can find. Take turns going through the obstacle course. The course could be a timed event, or must be completed without touching the obstacles. 

    You’re next!

    We were so happy that the guys at the Faze mansion were able to experience ice skating during the LA heat. We made these synthetic ice panels out of a love for skating and hockey. However, you can use it to have some fun challenges too!

    With everyone still under some kind of quarantine, setting up some panels are a great way to learn skating, challenge your friends, and beat the boredom. At the same time, these fun games increase your confidence on the ice.

    You’ll also see an improvement in your speed, strength, and balance. When you’re ready to skate against others or hit a large skating rink, your competition will not know what hit them.

    These are just some of the challenges you can do on any of our synthetic ice rink packages. If you’ve completed a challenge or made up some of your own, we’d love to see. Tag us on our Instagram page



    5 Synthetic Ice Uses You Probably Never Thought Of

    5 Synthetic Ice Uses You Probably Never Thought Of

    If you’re a lover of ice sports, you’re not alone. According to Statista, there are over 15 million skiers and 3 million hockey players in the country. More than 4.5 billion dollars get spent on hockey alone. Ice sports are here to stay.

    Unfortunately, some sports are seasonal, and others may be hard to access. To solve that problem, inventors created substitutes like synthetic ice. However, these artificial ice panels have practical uses beyond skating for fun or practice. 

    What is Synthetic Ice?

    Artificial ice or synthetic ice are panels made of a robust and stable polymer that’s used for skating. The panels are made in the form of interlocking tiles that can cover most surfaces. Skaters can then use their metal skates to enjoy their favorite “ice” sports. 

    The panels often come infused with a compound that reduces friction, perfect for ice skating. Non-infused panels also exist and are quite common on the market. These panels often need a liquid gliding agent applied from time to time. Artificial ice panels are durable, easy to clean and get better the more you skate on them.

    Setting Up Your Synthetic Ice Panels

    synthteic ice

    These panels can be set up in almost any space; the only limit is your imagination. You can create a skating strip in your driveway. Or you can make a complete ice rink in your garage or spare room. Set up takes less than an hour, depending on the size of the space. If the ground is uneven, a flat plywood base works best. Grab a friend if needed, and enjoy creating a remarkable ice space. You may be thinking of using the artificial ice space solely for ice skating or ice hockey for your family. Yet, there are a few additional uses that are both fun and practical. Here are 5 to consider.

    1. Staying In Shape

    workout

    You may be skating to enjoy your favorite ice sport. However, you can use your synthteic ice to work out! In 2020 with persons having limited access to the gym, persons are looking for helpful ways to say in shape. Skating is a low-impact form of exercise, giving great aerobic and anaerobic benefits. Over time, you’ll have a stronger core, quads, calf muscles, and better balance. With the added friction that naturally comes with synthetic ice, you’ll get stronger, faster. 

    Five Helpful Ice Skating Exercises:

    1. Hops: Jumping in ice skates can be challenging. Practice small hops, either laterally, straight in the air, or front to back. Hops strengthen core, calf muscles, and improves balance.
    2. Pistol Squats: Bend down balancing on one skate, extending the other leg out. Pistol squats work glutes, core, ankle strength, and overall lower body power.
    3. Shoot The Duck: How about taking those squats to the next level? Build up a little speed, then crouch as low as possible. Stick one leg out while you glide on the other leg. You get all the benefits of the pistol squat while building endurance.
    4. Ice Skating Lunge: Get low with a lunge while skating to strengthen the legs and glutes. Lunges on-ice look different from lunges in the gym. The back leg extends instead of bends. Leave the blade off the floor and the toes pointing away from you. Make sure to keep your upper body nice and tall.
    5. Sprints: How fast can you go in 30 seconds? Improve your endurance, strength, and conditioning with some quick sprints. Set two markers a few feet apart. Then start from one end and sprint to the other. Stop, turn, and sprint back to the starting position. Keep the intensity for 30 seconds, taking 60 seconds rest. Repeat the exercise for 4-5 rounds. 

    Add skating at least once a week into your workout routine. According to the Harvard Medical School, 30 minutes of ice skating or ice hockey can burn over 300 calories. Maintain the same pace on the artificial ice. Soon, you can increase the speed and complexity of your skating. It’s a great way to relieve stress and manage weight. Don’t forget to cool down!

    2. A Creative Source Of Income

    income

    If there’s one thing that 2020 taught us is that we can’t rely on one stream of income. Just in case something happens to our jobs, we have something to fall back on. If you already have a synthetic ice rink in your home, why not leverage that space for a little extra cash? 

    Teach Skating Classes

    Are you a skillful skater? If you have the ability or hockey experience, teach a paid beginner class. You can have a couple of adults come over to your space to learn some skating basics. Or you can teach kids some hockey basics. If the distance is an issue, try using a video conferencing program like Zoom. 

    Hold Skating Meetups

    If you have a big enough ice rink in your back yard,  you can even create a game night with sports like curling. Let a small group come in and pay a cover. We’re all looking for ways to have fun while being safe. Over time, the rink pays for itself and gives you a handy side hustle income.

    Start a Skating Blog or YouTube Channel.

    Blogging and YouTube are two popular income-generating activities. These platforms are a great way to teach, at scale. Create some content around skating and ice hockey. Talk about your artificial ice journey, teach skating drills, and give tips and tricks. Don’t overthink this. Start with a phone camera or a simple blogging platform like WordPress or Medium. Over time, you can monetize the content through adds or affiliate links. This is not only a great income stream but a passive income stream as well.

    3. Creating Your Own Amateur Curling Team

    Speaking of curling, how about starting your own team? Curling seems to be the sport that uninitiated pokes fun at around the Winter Olympics. But the game has existed for hundreds of years and is very popular. Curling takes endurance, teamwork,  and a sharp mind. There are even synthetic ice curling rinks that you can install in your home. Curling is an excellent opportunity to get your friends or family involved, and over time, you can even find some amateur tournaments to participate shortly.

    4. Trying An Unknown Ice Sport

    There’s more to ice sports than ice skating, curling, and hockey. With your artificial ice rink, you can explore sports you never heard before. 

    Ringlet

    Try Your Hand at Ringette

    Have you ever heard of Ringette? Ringette is a sport made in Canada in the 1960s. It’s similar to hockey in that it has six players and same protective equipment. However, ringette players use a specially designed straight stick and rubber ring. 

    The sport encourages minimal contact, and players have a 30-second shot clock. The game consists of zones with the offensive zone, which is played three on 3. While popular in Canda and mainly a girl sport, anyone can pick it up and enjoy it. Try Ringette with your kids or invite a few friends over to give it a shot.

    Broomball Anyone?

    Broomball combines hockey with a little soccer for a fun game anyone can enjoy. Six players compete with a stick that has a broom-shaped head and a rubber ball. The goal is to outscore your opponent! A big difference is that broomball players have special shoes with a rubber sole to help with traction. Full broomball games take defense and attack strategies into consideration, like hockey and soccer. 

    Broomball can get a bit physical like ice hockey and has similar equipment -  like helmets and shin pads -  for protection. It’s a great way to get friends to use your artificial ice without investing in skates or other expensive equipment. 

    5. A Homeschooling Tool For Kids

    home schooling

    What do homeschooling and artificial ice have in common? It can be a great teaching tool. Homeschooling has picked up some traction over the last decade, with over 2.2 million homeschooled kids today. Expect that number to skyrocket during and after the pandemic. 

    Homeschooling helps parents incorporate a nice mix of learning styles. This allows kids to outperform others in tests like SATs.  Ice hockey or skating could be a great addition to physical education. Invite other homeschooled kids in the area to build relationships and teamwork. This can help your kids develop critical thinking skills, leadership skills, and mental sharpness that can translate to the real world. 

    Try Some Cool uses for Your Synthetic ice.

    If you have a synthetic ice rink, these are some ways you can keep it fresh and exciting. If you’re thinking about artificial ice, know that there are several other uses besides ice hockey and skating. Try it as a way to stay in shape or make some extra cash. The health and financial benefits make it an investment rather than a form of leisure. More importantly, it can be used to bring family and friends together. If you need help choosing, maintaining, or setting up your artificial ice tiles, contact us today.













    Polyglide Synthetic Ice On Shark Tank!

    Polyglide Synthetic Ice On Shark Tank!

    "So what was it like to appear on shark tank?"...The question I'm asked most often can be answered in one simple word....Incredible! From the day I submitted my email entry to the Shark Tank executive producers until my scheduled air date had to be...no doubt.... one of the shortest and longest years of my life. Longest because throughout the process I couldn't tell anybody and shortest because so much took place during that year it's all a blur but I can tell you it was truly a great experience! After submitting my December, 2015 email and not having heard back from anyone for over four months I honestly forgot all about it. Then the call this entreprenuer's been waiting for came in April, 2016 asking, "So tell me about your synthetic ice panels" and that's when it all began.

    Video Submission Deadline

    The phone interview lasted all of about fifteen minutes and at the end of the conversation I jim-loughran-synthetic-ice-tilewas told "congratulations you made it to the video submission round." This next step involved producing a five-minute video submission explaining my product in an effort to wow the producers with my story. I had only a few short minutes to tell how PolyGlide Ice became a manufacturer of the best artificial ice on the market. I had only two weeks to complete the production as there were deadlines they were facing on their end. After submitting my video a week later I got another call with saying "Congratulations the producers loved your video and you're being considered for the show" however nothing's ever guaranteed in the television world.

    Ice Skating Into "The Tank"

    ice-skating-ishark-tankAfter continuing through with the process I was lucky enough to get my break and get a chance to pitch to the sharks. Once I was assigned a producer I had to create the draft of my first pitch which I thought I nailed until I read it to my shark tank producer. Lets just say my opening sentence was great but it was back to the drawing board for the remainder of the pitch until I got it right. It was obvious the synthetic ice panels were going to provide the visual attraction and having youth hockey players skating into the tank only added to the visual.

    Time to Pitch to The Sharks

    Fast forward to to August and final preparations are underway involving all the final detailsshark-tank-pitch right down to the set design and travel arrangements. At this point it's finaly official.....I'm going to pitch to the SHARKS!! (or am I?). The simple fact is even though your given the opportunity to pitch only 40-50% of all Shark Tank pitches ever make it on air. In fact contestants have to wait until just a few weeks before their "air date" to even confirm if they have an air date ...and throughout the process you can tell NO ONE!

    Shark Tank Season 8 , Episode 11 

    shark-tank-hallwayMy pitch date was set for September 20th, 2016 (season 8, episode 11) and after going through the whole process trust me when I say I was beyond ready. The common question is always "Were you nervous?" and I can honestly say I was much more excited than nervous. As it turned out because of the large synthetic ice set design I was to be the first pitch of the day and the Sharks were wide awake waiting for their first "taste of the day". Once the countdown began there was no turning back 3, 2, 1.....ACTION! All in all the entire pitch lasted about 45 minutes from which was trimmed down to 8-1/2 minutes of non-stop air time. WIth the average 30 second prime commercial costing around $400,000.00 that would put me about 6.8 Million dollars ahead of the game......Deal or no Deal.

    Let the Pitch Begin

    After my opening pitch things started at a rapid fire pace with the Sharks often talking polyglide-synthetic-ice-panels-displayover each other with their questions. My engineer who traveled with me was in the green room and said it looked like I was watching a tennis match as my head spun on a swivel snapping back and forth addressing the fast pace of the questions. There were many comical moments and smiles that were edited out from the pitch which took on a more serious tone in the final cut but the feedback from the Sharks along with retaining 100% of my company and valuable exposure was much more than I could ever ask for.

    In the end I can tell you if you're an entrepreneur that is ready to take the next step and put it all out there.... try out for Shark Tank. Even though I didn't get a deal the experience can be life-changing and can help take your business to the next level. If by chance you don't make it on the show then I recommend you pitch your company to both your friends and strangers whenever you can get the chance. Their feedback will help steer you in the right direction and help you better understand your customers and make the best decisions for your company and product.

    By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

    For additional information call: 855-765-9423
     

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    Why 2020 Is The Year Of The Synthetic Ice Rink

    Why 2020 Is The Year Of The Synthetic Ice Rink

    life 2020: A year of massive change

    Who would have thought that 2020 would be so challenging? For starters, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way we operate. Other social issues have transformed the lives of Americans overnight. And while some areas have reduced restrictions, millions of people are still self-quarantining. Quarantine has changed the way we shop, eat, work, and even entertain ourselves. At the same time, it has opened opportunities for innovative ways to flourish while at home. That’s why we think that this is the year of the synthteic ice rink.

    What’s Artificial Ice Anyway?

    artificial ice

    What if there was a way to ice skate without going to an actual ice rink? Artificial ice or synthetic ice gives avid ice skaters that ability and much more. An artificial ice rink is made of synthetic polymer panels. These panels interlock to form a space that anyone can skate. The panels have evolved over the years to have a better skating experience.

     

    In some cases, there’s only a 10% difference between ice skating and artificial ice. Creating your ice rink has become more comfortable and more accessible. With that said, here are some reasons why this is the year to develop your arena using synthetic ice tiles.

    Ice skating enthusiasts are concerned about health and safety.

    covid hockey

    Unfortunately, the pandemic has created concern for the skating community. Throughout the pandemic, ice rinks have been unavailable, making skating nearly impossible. Even with the reopening of some areas, parents and ice skating enthusiasts alike are still concerned about health and safety. By choosing to set up an artificial ice rink in the backyard, spare room, or basement, skaters can still enjoy their passions in a safe space. Don’t worry, with tools like Zoom, ice-skaters, and hockey players can even connect with coaches and trainers!

    Pivoting to stay afloat

     The coaching and training profession has been struck, and not only in the ice skating field. Coaches can no longer host in-person group sessions, or open their training centers

    Even when things resume - at it has in many states - students will be skeptical to start back classes in the short term. This puts a financial strain on trainers. Technology helps trainers pivot and profit. Imagine a hockey trainer can give lessons from his home, demonstrating techniques to students on artificial ice panels. These teachers can not keep their current students. By building an online presence, it gives them incredible reach, exposing them to students out of state or in other countries. 

    Keeping kids engaged throughout the extended break.

    The lockdown has brought a list of challenges, with an added challenge for parents. Kids have been home for months. These kids don’t only need to keep up learning. They need to keep active, engaged, and try different activities. At the same time, parents still need time to adjust to working from home. No parent wants their kids in front of an I-pad for 9 hours a day. An artificial ice rink is a creative way to encourage play for the kids. The kids can enjoy skating while staying healthy and exploring a passion for sports like hockey or ice-skating. And parents can reclaim some time to navigate remote work. 

    A new way to stay active 

    Adults are home and need exciting yet creative ways to stay active. With the closure of gyms, many fitness enthusiasts are working out at home. Unfortunately, exercise equipment like weights, kettlebells, and bands are hard to find. The lockdown caused a boom that gym equipment businesses are unable to keep up. And while running on a treadmill works, it can get a bit boring! Persons who did not consider skating as a form of exercise are doing so now. Skating is an exciting way to build endurance, strengthen the legs, and core muscles. An artificial ice rink allows users to build up a sweat, learn a new skill, and have lots of fun! 

    Training during a pandemic

    The pandemic has put the sporting world on hold. Even professional sports are struggling to return with sports like Major League Baseball still on a knife’s edge. The NHL has also revealed their plans for a restart, with the season resuming sometime in July. Professional hockey players who aren’t part of the upcoming playoffs have an opportunity to come back stronger than ever. A great start is to get an artificial ice rink installed in their homes. One significant advantage of the rink is the increased resistance compared to natural ice. This means not only a prepared athlete but a stronger one.


    The figure skating season also had an abrupt end, with cancellations of the World Championships. While the season should resume July 1st, some events for the new season have already been canceled. Skaters will need space to train and may not have immediate access to facilities. This can bring an increased demand for artificial ice surfaces.

    We haven’t even talked about the persons at Junior levels. Organizers have canceled the next two stops of the Junior Grand Prix. They will need to stay fresh and passionate about their sport. And there’s no better way than having direct access to skating.

    Let your creativity shine.

    Quarantine has opened up a host of new hobbies, from gardening, jewelry making, to baking lots of banana bread. How about building out your very own ice rink? Feed that creativity, while setting up a space for family and friends to enjoy. It’s a gratifying experience, and who knows? You can even host a small skating party if the area is big enough (remember the pandemic rules that apply to your state). 

    Setting up Your Synthetic ice rink

    Getting your ice rink down is a quick and easy process. However, it does take some initial planning. Follow these steps to start skating in no time:

    • Figure out the space for the synthetic ice (e.g., basement, driveway, garage, deck, or backyard)
    • Measure the space before purchasing your tiles. You can compare your area with the available tiles. This saves both time and money. In some cases, the panels can be custom cut to avoid too many interlocking tiles. 
    • Make sure the surface is level for a better skating experience. If needed, get some plywood. Plywood sets up a smooth foundation to lay the tiles.
    • If filling a room, leave a space at the edges to compensate for swelling during hot months.
    • Based on the type of tile, consider investing in a slip conditioner. This liquid helps condition the surface after cleaning and extends the life of the tiles.

    A brand-new way to connect

    curling artificial ice rink

    One thing we’ve recognized providing others with synthetic ice is the uncanny way it brings people together. A synthteic ice rink brings families together. Brothers and sisters build bonds playing hockey, even when things get a bit competitive. It can help develop more reliable connections with couples learning to skate or help coaches and players achieve a common goal. You can even set up a Curling rink. Curling is a fun way to get the most out of your artificial panels. The sport has its detractors, but it’s great when friends and family come over to enjoy your company and get a bit competitive. We need to stay connected now more than ever.

    Getting your winter vacation fix

    artificial ice rink vacation

    Planes have been grounded for months and will slowly return to operation. The grounded planes brought leisure travel to a screeching halt. According to USJetCost.com, 23% of Americans prefer winter vacations. While it sounds strange, some persons just don’t have access to cold conditions. In some cases, they’ve done it all, so why not a winter getaway?

    Many go not just for the skiing and snowboarding, but for the opportunity to enjoy an ice skating experience. The pandemic derailed plans this past winter and also brings uncertainty for the rest of the year. While you won’t get your snow fix, you can still enjoy a bit of skating this year with an artificial ice rink. 


    Set up your artificial ice rink today

    There are several reasons to jump on the artificial ice rink train. For starters, it’s a great way to enjoy ice skating with limited spaces opened. The pandemic has been challenging, but it does not mean we can’t get to do the things we love. By setting up an artificial ice rink at home, professionals, amateurs, juniors can still learn and improve in their respective ice fields. 


    Kids also get incredible benefits from an artificial ice rink. If you want to start your kids with hockey or keep up their training, a dedicated space at home works best. It also brings some variety in an area that can turn frustrating during the quarantine.


    That aside, 2020 is still a year of growth and change. That means learning new things and having fun along the way. Some persons can even start a New Year’s resolution to ice skate, just in a different, yet fun way. This year will motivate others to try new things like synthetic ice skating. Are you ready to give it a shot, too? If you need help with choosing the right synthetic ice for your new rink, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. 




    Hockey on Synthetic Ice: A Foolproof Guide

    Hockey on Synthetic Ice: A Foolproof Guide

    Hockey Statistics/Hockey at home

    Hockey is one of the most amazing sports around. Not for the physicality, chirping, and raw emotion that comes out. Those things are cool. Hockey is also great for the skills, dedication from the players, and the pure joy you feel when that biscuit hits the back of the net.


    Hockey may not get it’s due like many of the other mainstream sports. But according to Statista, More than 5 million Americans picked up the sport in the last 10 years. That means kids and teens are still picking up the sport, raring to learn and to become great players. Of course, they’re going to need all the training they can get. Even adults and full professionals need to train. That’s why hockey on synthetic ice has been so important to the hockey industry.

    A little back story

    I’ve been a lover of hockey for decades. It’s this love for the game that made me try to replicate it when I was not by the rink.  I’m not talking about a tennis ball and roller blades in a cul-de-sac. That’s an amazing experience in itself. But I’m talking about a real (or as close to real) hockey experience. One with actual ice skates and a puck. For years, our company has been providing that experience. This guide will help you set up and play hockey on synthetic ice, the way it was meant to be played. 

    What is synthetic ice?

    Synthetic ice is made of durable sheets of polyethylene panels that emulate the slick, skating feeling of ice skating. These panels can be cut to fit a particular space. Others are available in a standard size for a small strip or space in the home. Once set up, you can use your actual ice skates on the surface, giving you a sweet skating experience. With these artificial panels, you don’t need expensive cooling equipment and maintenance. They’re portable, long-lasting, and, most of all, fun!

    Why set up synthetic ice?

    Now we can hear the gears turning in your head. You can use synthetic ice tiles for your favorite pastimes like ice skating, and even curling. But we’re all here for a hockey setup. When it comes to hockey, a synthetic ice setup will be best for the following reasons:

    • You want to get your kids into the sport: If you have kids who’ve expressed interest in hockey, this is a great opportunity to get them and keep them in the sport.
    • You need to fuel the fire: You may have some budding mites or squirts in your house that you want to help improve their skills - or burn off some extra energy.
    • For professional development: Are you a budding professional or high-performance athlete that needs their own space? A synthetic ice space allows training all through the year, without the added cost of a full ice setup. 
    • No access to facilities: With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, you don’t see yourself or your kids heading to the city rink or an ODR in the near future. So you need a space that’s not only accessible but safe.

    With one or more of these reasons in mind, it’s time to get your first set of synthetic ice panels.

    What to look for in your synthetic ice

    Before making that purchase it’s best to be clear on a few things:


  • Who’s it for?:  Think about how many persons would be using the ice panels. Would you have neighbors over? Is it just for your professional training? This will determine the number of panels you will need. It would suck if you need to get more panels because there are more users than expected.
    • How will it be used? : Is it for fun games in the afternoon? Or will it be for simple drills to improve speed, strength, or dexterity? This will determine the quality of artificial ice acquired. A high-density option that’s going to stay in a fixed space will work well for heavy use.
    • Where will it be installed?: Speaking of fixed space, it’s a good idea to earmark space for your hockey on synthetic ice. Will it be a garage, basement, or backyard? This will determine if you need additional equipment for walls or lubrication.

    With those particulars checked off, make sure to ask your provider about the panels themselves. 


    Coefficient of Friction

    The Coefficient of Friction is a good starting point. Friction determines the gliding ability as it opposes motion. Therefore if the coefficient of friction in your ice rink is low, then you will have a higher gliding power. 

    Ask about the materials

    Some material, like our infused Pro-Glide panels, work best for longterm, intense use. Make sure to choose the right material based on your needs. More importantly, make sure that every part of your panel contributes to a healthy, happy environment. Find out if the company uses environmentally friendly material and production practices.

    Set up and connection

    Look for a company that’s willing to work with you for setup. Once you give them the dimensions of your space, they should be able to tell you exactly what you need to fill the space. Consider getting larger, custom panels for larger spaces. This means there will be fewer seams made where the two panels connect. Panels should seamlessly link and feel as smooth as possible.


    Time to install

    With panels in hand, you can now set up for space for hockey. Before slapping together your artificial ice, make sure to check the space thoroughly. You’d want an even surface to get a great hockey experience. Clear any debris from the area before installation. 


    More importantly, the ground must be level, so that skating is smooth. This also minimizes the chances of injury. If the ground is not level, an underlayment or plywood subfloor is vital. This will help the artificial ice tiles lay better, keep level, reduce moisture and sound. 


    Once you install the subfloor, place the panels down in order, making sure each connects snugly. In an enclosed space like a garage or basement, leave some space between the walls. Flooring of any material tends to expand in hotter months. 

    Slap on those skates!

    We could assume at the same time that you were buying the panels, you had some skates ready! Conventional skates can be used on your new rink. Note that the skates may need to be sharpened more than on natural ice. However, the panels become smoother and more responsive with continued use. So this will reduce the number of sharpenings in the longterm. 


    Will this feel different from natural ice?


    Without a doubt, natural ice has a kind of gliding effect that has been a challenge to match.

    However, the manufacturers of the synthetic ice industry have started implementing specific lubricating products that are getting them closer to the feeling of skating. There will be some resistance, however, many hockey players find the resistance helps build strength and speed for the real ice.

     

    With that said, choose some of the best skates on the market. It’s better to make an investment in skates that will help you crush the competition! 

    You could try several skates such as:

    Don’t forget the rest of the equipment

    Of course, we will need some more equipment to make our hockey on synthetic ice at home dreams a reality. Chances are you would have some of these pieces of equipment already but just in case:


      • Hockey stick: Make sure to get more than one stick, if possible, for yourself or your hockey-playing family.
  • Puck a.k.a your buscuit: A plastic or rubber training biscuit helps you get faster, and silkier with the stick. More importantly, it can save broken windows and noses!
    • Goals: Pick up two lightweight, standard goals for some intense games! If there’s a goalie in the house, this can help with shot-stopping skills and flexibility. While you’re at it, some shooting targets can help with accuracy!
    • Training equipment: While you can use simple household items in place of cones, pick up some agility cones or other equipment to help with speed and change of direction.
    • Safety!: While it’s easy to go play without safety in mind, hockey at home can lead to injuries. Of course, it brings out the competitive nature of all involved! Make sure to get a helmet, elbow, and knee pads for protection, if you’re playing with others.    

    Time to play!

    Now it’s time to get some good use out of your space! If you’re playing with friends, or your little mites are raring to go, “friendly” games are a great way to start. Set a target - like the first to 5 goals - and start playing! Take some time to get accustomed to the ice. To make things more exciting, you can have penalty shootouts, giving each other the chance to practice some sweet goalie skills.


    Practice Drills

    Practice makes permanent. Most high-performance athletes get artificial rinks installed in their homes to hone specific skills. While it’s fun to keep playing games and penalty shootouts for the intense competition, getting some drills in can help you and your budding players.

    These simple drills below would get stronger, faster, and more intelligent in the sport.



    1. Cutting

    Learn how to navigate tight spaces with a simple cutting drill. First, get your cones or small items to  Label your cones A to E. Put A and E 10m apart. Cone B and D should be placed 10m from A and E and should be about 4m apart. Now, place cone C 3m away from B and D.

    Begin from cone A towards B while dribbling. Cut to C, then reduce your speed and pull your ball around D. Dribble to E and finish at A. Record the time spent.

    2. Pop and Burst

    Let cone A and E be 5m away from each other. Let C be 10m meter away from the duo. Place cone B and D at 4m from A and E. Let B and D have three cones each.

    Start at A, dribble to B. using elimination skill, pass through the cones, and sprint to C. Head for D and pass through the funnels using elimination skill again. Finish at the E point. Don't forget to record your time!

    3. Lateral Movement Drills

    Mount cone A, B, and D 5m away from each other. Place C and E 3m from B. Begin at A. Head for B and double pull to C and then to B. Burst forward around D and double pull again at B. Dribble back to A to finish. Record your time.

    Maintaining your artificial ice

    Cleaning and maintenance is the key to the long health of your hockey space. Skating on synthetic ice cause abrasions, dirt, and shavings. Shavings are a natural part of skating on the panels. Use a soft brush to clean shavings and a wet mop or cloth to clear dirt. Artificial ice panels last several years, going well past the warranty date. 


    Conclusion


    Hockey on synthetic ice is fun and can shape a hockey skill or career for years. It’s a great alternative for those with little access to facilities, training, and even playing time. Setup is a simple process as long as there is some planning beforehand. 


    Before starting, have a clear idea of the space and purpose of the ice. This can help you save time and money. Get home-friendly equipment like hockey sticks, pucks, and goals. These will ensure you get the best performance possible while being safe. 


    Over time, you will build your hockey skills and love for the game. If you need help with setting up your very first synthetic ice for hockey at home, reach out to us today. We’ll help you through the selection process so you can have a space to use for years to come.