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    PolyGlide Blog, News & Updates

    Southern Exposure for Backyard Rinks

    Southern Exposure for Backyard Rinks

    Northern Limits

    pond hockeyThe days when ice skating was only available to the masses throughout the winter months are no longer. The local ice Arena was the only option for anyone that wanted a leisurely skate at a moment’s notice, other than that you needed to live in the Northern hemisphere and wait for the pond to freeze over.

    People wonder why winter sports like Ice Hockey, Figure Skating and Curling become so popular every four years during the Olympic Games. The reason I would say is partly because to grow the game you need the ice that comes with it….and to make it yourself would cost a LOT of money… until now.

    Ice Developments

    lloyd cookTimes have certainly changed with the development of new synthetic ice plastics that are portable and easy to assemble to create your own artificial ice rink virtually anywhere. Over the years the polymer industry has made huge strides in creating hardened plastics that have changed the way we live.

    Plastics manufactured today are durable enough for knee and hip replacements. They are also resistant enough to handle the wear and tear of ice skating on a flat sheet….and yes, these plastics are very similar in a lot of ways.

    plastic kneeThe big difference between todays synthetic ice plastics and those from the early days is what actually makes the surface slippery. In the early days, most surfaces were simply a large white cutting board with oils applied (yes, I said oils) to make it slippery enough to skate on.

    That would be ideal today if you wanted to slice up a nice salad with your skates but probably wouldn’t be the best option for ice skating. Today’s newer polymer plastics have become denser and abrasive-resistant while surface glide enhancers designed just for synthetic ice have also developed along the way.

    Slippery Solutions

    The biggest development has been in the manufacturing process where plastic ice is now being designed solely for the purpose of ice skating. The introduction of infused slip agents“slip agents” during manufacturing actually make the plastic slippery enough not to require surface enhancers. Without getting too technical, this development creates way less surface friction and makes it feel much more like you’re on natural ice and the overall experience much more pleasurable. It also creates more options for those who always wanted to try ice skating but it was never an option.

    A New Ice Age Cometh

    Growing up I always remembered looking through the old NHL team Media Guides at some of my favorite hockey players and at the bottom of the page where it said “Birthplace” they ALL said “CANADA”.

    Times have certainly changed over the years as the Sport of Hockey and Figure hockey media guideSkating continues to grow into the South and warmer climate areas. With the introduction of these new synthetic ice plastics backyard rinks can be set-up year-round allowing more great skaters and players to hone their skills.

    With the development of synthetic ice plastics you can look for these sports to continue to grow and develop more players and skaters that may come from some unrecognizable zip codes.

     

    By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

     

    China Looking to Dominate 2022 Winter Olympic Games

    China Looking to Dominate 2022 Winter Olympic Games

    The "Cold Sports War" Has Begun

    China is investing billions of dollars into new ski resorts, skating rinks, and athletics programs to breed a new generation of athletes that can help it win big in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

    The country wants to build 800 ski resorts and 650 skating rinks by 2022, when it will host the next Winter Games, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported.

    China unveiled the ambitious project in 2015, when it was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

    The plan is to create 300 million skiers, skaters, ice hockey players, and other winter athletes within the next few years — some of whom will represent the country in four years' time, when the country's status as host will allow it to enter athletes into every single discipline.

    Its plans effectively amount to constructing an entire winter sports industry in the run-up to the next Winter Olympics.

    Billion-Dollar Plans for Winter Sports

     China made its newfound enthusiasm for winter sports official in 2016, when it published its five-year National Fitness Program - a 1.5 trillion renminbi ($237 billion/£169 billion) plan unveiled in 2016 to reinvigorate the country's fitness industries.

    The plan highlighted the importance of winter sports, such as skiing and figure skating, and called for new facilities to cater to them.

    Since the plan was announced, real estate developers have built massive new facilities to meet the country's demand for winter sports. Coaches from places like Britain and Canada have flocked there to make a living.

    According to China Daily, the number of ski resorts in the country rose from 300 to 700 between 2014 and 2017 alone.

    Last July, the northern Chinese city of Harbin opened the world's largest indoor ski resort, which cost 40 billion RMB ($6.3 billion/£4.5 billion) to build, and whose slopes can accommodate 3,000 people at a time. This video shows what it looks like:

    China is also building new high-speed trains to shuttle skiers from Beijing to Chongli, a town in the northern Hebei province where most of the 2022 Games events will take place, the LA Times reported.

    What's behind China's new obsession with winter sports?

    The main reason is to win big and look good in front of a home audience in 2022.

    The country invested heavily in grooming its athletes for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, David Dollar, a China expert at the Brookings Institute, told Axios.

    It appeared to pay off — the country ended up taking the most gold medals that year, effectively winning the games.

    Mark Dreyer, the founder of the Beijing-based news site China Sports Insider, told Business Insider: "Every country wants to do well on home soil, and past results show that the host nation almost always gets a bump in the medals table (due to factors including increased funding and home support), so China would gladly trade success in 2018 for success in 2022."

    As Liu Bo, a former ski trainer, told Reuters: "China spends big money setting up the stage [for the Winter Olympics], and the performers are all foreigners. President Xi will not allow this to happen. We have to be the leading actor in 2022."

    Liu Bo, a former ski trainer, told Reuters that Chinese President Xi Jinping was determined to have China be the preeminent in the 2022 games and would not accept a situation where the stars of the show are "all foreigners."

    "President Xi will not allow this to happen," he said. "We have to be the leading actor in 2022."

    China's ambitions for winter sports go beyond the 2022 Games, however. As the country becomes richer, the government hopes to turn winter sports into a sprawling new industry.

    Authorities expect China's winter sports industry to be worth 1 trillion RMB ($158 billion/£113 billion) by 2025, the South China Morning Post reported.

    As of last year, it was worth around 397 billion RMB ($62 billion/£45 billion), the China Daily said, meaning the industry would need to almost triple in size to meet the target.

    The LA Times quoted Laurent Vanat, a Swiss ski consultant, describing China as "the only market with such tremendous potential."

    So will China win big in 2022?

    Dreyer, the Beijing-based sports journalist, said there is "no chance" China will win the 2022 Games — but it could still manage a large medal haul.

    China is unlikely to win in the more traditional — and by extension more competitive — winter sports, like downhill and slalom skiing, he said.

    However, it might have a chance in the newer or less popular ones, such as freestyle and mogul skiing, snowboarding, and curling.

    Dreyer said: "Few, if any, countries can match the funding that China will invest in winter sports at the elite level over the next four years, meaning that in at least some of the disciplines, Chinese athletes will be as competitive as any other country. [...]

    "On a wider level, China has targeted a goal of having 120 million skiers and 180 million skaters by an unspecified date. These are ludicrously overambitious targets, but if China only succeeds in achieving a fraction of these targets, it could still have one of the largest winter sports bases by population in the world.

    "That, in turn, will help to generate more medalists at the elite level."

    By Alexandra Ma

    Business Insider

     

    The History of Synthetic Ice

    The History of Synthetic Ice

    The Basics of Synthetic Ice


    Synthetic ice is a solid polymer sheet material made from polyethylene plastic. These polymer sheets are connected together using various methods (dovetail, tongue and groove, flush edge) to form an artificial ice skating surface.

    Early implementation of synthetic ice for ice skating dates all the way back to the 1960's when polymer materials became more commonplace in everyday life.

    Over the decades synthetic ice has continued to develop with the use of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Utra-High Molecular Weight (UHMWPE) being the industry standard among most manufacturers and distributors.

    Low molecular weight plastics are not suitable enough for skating as they are too soft break down too easily. Polymer surfaces that are too hard strip the skate edge blade down too quickly and limit the amount of time one can skate without loosing their edge.



    Evolution


    Over time different variations of these polymer compounds along with "slip" agent additives continued to improve the overall performance of today’s modern synthetic ice.

    Synthetic ice rinks can virtually be installed in any location or climate condition with relatively easy assembly. With no need for electricity or refrigeration and with the improvement of its overall performance, synthetic ice has become a cost effective substitute to refrigerated ice.



    Options


    Surfaces manufactured without a slip agent additive do require a surface lubricant application while others that are infused during manufacturing offer the least amount of surface friction or "coefficient of friction".

    All synthetic ice surfaces need to be kept clean to provide optimal glide and performance so a certain amount of maintenance is required for both infused and non-infused surfaces.

    Skaters can expect 10-15% added friction while skating on synthetic ice which has helped it to become a popular training tool for Hockey Players and Figure Skaters alike.



    Acceptance


    As synthetic ice materials continue to develop it has become a more of a practical alternative to natural ice where conditions are not feasible. New developments have closed the gap on a more natural ice "feel" and overall skating experience.










     

    ACP Hockey Synthetic Ice Training

    ACP Hockey Synthetic Ice Training

    Experience Pays Off

    Austin Coldwell has spent a good portion of his 27 years traveling long distances to learn and play hockey.

    The Vancouver native went from youth hockey to junior hockey to college at the University of Anchorage-Alaska to the professional minor leagues.

    His only real time playing close to home was at ages 15 and 16 for the Fort Vancouver Pioneers at Mountain View Ice Arena.

    A New Beginning

    Now that his playing days are over, Coldwell has opened his own training program — Austin Coldwell Premier Hockey, or ACPHockey — with the goal of not only developing young players but giving them the option of staying close to home to learn the sport.

    To make that happen, Coldwell not only coaches at Mountain View Ice Arena, he uses his ACPHockey gym with its 224-square foot PolyGlide synthetic ice surface.

    “No one here is doing this,” Coldwell said of his artificial surface that has been in place since January. “I wanted to start training players and developing players here. It creates more opportunities.”

    That’s the case for 11-year-old Rylan Oster. He’s part of the Junior Winterhawks program.

    “We’ve had take so many trips to Canada on weekends,” said his father Rory, who is the athletic director at Camas High School. “It was great that we found Austin.”

    Building Skills on Synthetic Ice

    Synthetic ice is like a hard plastic cutting board put together like a puzzle with interlocking pieces. It is treated with a lubricant that gives the ability for skates to slide and yet remains dry to the touch.

    The bonus of a PolyGlide synthetic ice surface is it can be placed anywhere at any time of the year, hot or cold, without electricity.

    Coldwell explained that the purpose of utilizing the synthetic ice along with the real thing is to develop the smaller details of the game.

    “Skating, edgework, lots of movement,” he said. “Lots of applied pressure to the skate and stick handling as well. We try to work on very technical, very small details here in the gym.”

    On the real ice at Mountain View, Coldwell has players work on broader hockey skills and positional work.

    “We have hypothetical situations, show players why they are working on a particular skill,” he said.

    Growing the Program

    To share his work with athletes, Coldwell utilizes social media by posting videos on Instagram (@ACPHockey) and Twitter (@ACPHockey77) from his workout sessions and camps with the hockey players. His website www.acphockey.com outlines the program.

    You can learn how to use the whole body efficiently. It’s an application for game day,” Coldwell says of his program. “It’s just hard work. No secret there.”

    Coldwell is already seeing his hard work pay off, not only in keeping players close to home, but also looking to expand his gym into a bigger space in the coming months.

     

     By Jeff Klein, Columbian sports staff

    http://www.columbian.com

    Polyglide Synthetic Ice On Shark Tank!

    Polyglide Synthetic Ice On Shark Tank!

    So What was My Shark Tank Experience Like?

    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 along with the valuable exposure was much more than I could ever ask for.

    In the end I can tell you if you're an entreprenuer 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 you company and product.

    By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

    For additional information call: 855-765-9423
    as seen on shark tank

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