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    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.

    The True Value of Synthetic Ice Home Training

    The True Value of Synthetic Ice Home Training

    Creating an environment to make home synthetic ice training a reality takes more thinking than money to make it happen. As with all modern-day sports physical fitness is the foundation for the potential of success one can achieve outside of genetics. Being a "gym rat" or in this case a "rink rat" can take a player with an average skill to the next level if the effort and desire is there. The challenge with ice hockey and figure skating is you need to spend an extensive amount of the ice time at the rink to excel at skating.

    There’s No Place Like Home

    Synthetic Ice Training

    With all of today’s modern day distractions (facebookinstagramtwitter) that unfortunately consume the bulk of any young athletes day, introducing home synthetic ice training is more acceptable today than ever before. Trying to find time between homework assignments and practices is difficult for any young athlete to continue self-training. Having a dedicated space in a home environment becomes even more valuable than ever especially for those athletes that need to master the art of ice skating.

    How to Start

    If you see you have a dedicated player or skater it's time to find a dedicated space to fit their needs. It's always best to optimize a minimal amount of space to maximize your overall training.  A bigger synthetic ice rink is not always better as a smaller space allows you to repeat the drill and correct the mistakes and limit the amount of wasted time. You'll only need enough space to work on your edges and skill sets.

    I know this is not what you’re used to hearing but can you see how this makes sense? The need when it comes to home ice training is to become a better skater or player.

    Get More for Less

    The goal is to utilize your synthetic ice surface to limit the amount of travel and maximize the amount of training.   The advantages you'll save on travel time and getting more workouts over the long term will only help you to maximize your abilities and become a better skater or player.

    This will put you on the fast track to accomplishing your goals and enable you to do it all in the comfort of your home by utilizing synthetic ice training.

    What is the ideal location for Your Rink?

    garage synthteic ice rink 

    This question doesn’t have just one answer. Synthetic Ice can be installed virtually anywhere, anyplace at anytime.

    Examples of Common Rink Project Locations for the Home:

    • Garage: Hands down, the family garage “takes the cake” as the most common indoor rink location in the home, A single car garage measures approximately 12ft. x 20ft whereas a 2-car a garage ice rink would measure closer to 20ft x 20ft. Both are ideal sizes and locations for your home training rink.
    • Basement: The basement has always been an ideal place for creating a playroom space for your kids to play. What better way to train AND have fun by converting this area into a home ice rink? (Something tells me the kids will not object.)
    • Deck: Home outdoor decks have grown tremendously over the last few decades and are now a commonplace in most homes. Decks provide the perfect flat, hard subsurface for any home synthetic ice rink project.
    • Driveway: When the weather starts to warm-up you can always move your garage rink out to the driveway for some fresh air (or just open the door)

    Advantages

    Utilizing home ice training is ideal because it can help you become an impact player or skater.  The additional resistance makes synthetic ice training ideal for any skater or player looking to strengthen their skating, improve on basic stickhandling drills and advance their skills and performance. Why not take advantage of a tool that can offer you maximum results?

    Find Your Ideal Rink

    synthetic ice rink

    Now that you’ve learned a little bit about synthetic ice, it’s time to find a rink that works within your budget. This can seem overwhelming—especially if you feel you don’t know enough about the product to make a decision. That’s okay. We can help.

    Worksheets

    First, there are a lot of products on the market that make claims to having the best synthetic ice. When you're researching about the different options and types of surfaces, you may want to have some paper handy. Browse through the different products and take notes as to what you may or may not like about each of them. Continue this process for each product you come across until you’re confident you’ve exhausted your search.

    Take your time to review this information and narrow your selection down to your top three (3) choices. Don’t be afraid to call the companies to discuss their product and allow yourself to get a feel of who you’re dealing with.

    Return on Investments (ROI)

    Owning your own home synthetic ice rink will certainly pay off in the long term when you consider less time spent traveling back-and-forth to the rink. Artificial ice is not meant to replace natural ice but only to enable athletes to advance their skills without relying on ice time at the local arena. Less time traveling in the car means more time training at home.

    The Road to Success

    Success

    I came up with a few quick questions you may also want to ask yourself about the player or skater you’re purchasing the rink for. You can add these few to your list:

    How would you best describe the Skater?

    When looking to purchase a synthetic ice rink try to evaluate where your child is on the development scale (beginner or advanced?). If you’re a parent this is often a subjective question as we are all a little biased when it comes to evaluating our own child…..but try to be honest.

    Think about how dedicated or committed your child is to their sport. If the rink is for you then fine but it’s probably not something you want to purchase to make your child enjoy it. That would not be a good start. Here’s some of the other things you may want to consider:

    Interests

    • Favorites: Does your child actively follow their favorite team, player or skater?
    • Games: Do they like to compete and play in other sports and games?
    • Hobbies: Have they shown an interest in other hobbies that they like….not influenced by anyone else?

    These are just a few examples of some different interests. What other ones may apply to their life?

    The Three “S’s”

    • Schooling: Will having a home ice rink allow your child to have some additional time to get their homework done?
    • Schedule: Are they being shuffled back-and-forth to the rink frequently with little “down time”?
    • Stress: How does your child handle stress? Children can easily be overwhelmed if they take on too much.

    Activities and Health

    • Exercise: Is your child involved in daily physical activities? Do you feel they get enough exercise throughout the week and in between meals?
    • Diet: Are you happy with your child eating habits and diet? Are they making good choices when eating on their own?
    • Passion: Is your child excited or passionate about Hockey or figure skating and ready to devote their time to the sport they love?

    These are just a few examples of some of the things you may want to take into consideration prior to purchasing your synthetic ice rink.

    Notice how this list contains a blend of specific talents that encompass both hobbies, schedules and specific skills. Not all of these apply to everyone—and they’re not meant to. Most players and skaters these days have busy schedules with limited time. There’s no better way to make use of that time than by synthetic ice training at home.

    By creating your own home training rink you can make the most of your valuable time and achieve maximum results. It’s a “win-win” for both the athlete AND the parent.

    Once you’ve decided which synthetic ice product to purchase and completed your installation the real fun begins. If you want to get the most out of your training you will need to create a workout program that will help you achieve your goals. Now it’s time to get real honest with yourself:

    What Are Your Weaknesses?

    Weaknesses

    While it is important to know your talents and focus on them, it is also a good idea to understand and admit your weaknesses. Knowing what they are and how to improve them will only put you on the fast track to achieving your goals.

    If you're great at making tight left turns, spend your time turning right. If you’re a skater that needs work on your spins, don’t waste time working on your crossovers. Once you can isolate and work on your weaknesses you can begin to improve your skills.

    Nicole Court Training

    (Nicole Court, @nicolecourttraining www.nicolecourttraining.com)

    Ice Hockey

    • Powerskating: Powerskating is designed to improve overall skating technique, speed and edgework. Starting, stopping, Pivoting, turning and acceleration drills are repeated at a high rate of speed until each skill is achieved.
    • Small-Area Games: Small-area games are game-like competitive drills that utilize a playing surface that has been reduced in size. Your home synthetic ice rink is the ideal space for your own small-area game drills. Be creative and have fun challenging yourself.
    • Basic Stickhandling Drills:  Practicing stickhandling at home with a simple shooting pad is one thing but doing it in your skates on synthetic ice brings it to another level. It's important to get your feet (skates) involved when practicing basic stickhandling drills.

    Figure Skating

    • Jumps: There are six kinds of jumps currently counted as jump elements in ISU Three are edge jumps—the Salchow, loop, and Axel—and three are toe jumps which use the toe picks on the front of the blade—the toe loop, flip, and Lutz. The Axel is the most difficult due to an extra half rotation.
    • Spins: There are many types of spins, identified by the position of the arms, legs, and torso, the foot on which the spin is performed, and the entrance to the spin. A combination spinis a spin where the skater would connect a spin with another separate spin. Spins are a required element in most figure skating competitions.

    Target your weaknesses and work hard on improving them.

    As you continue to train and address your weaknesses your overall skills will continue to improve until you reach your goals. Hard work, determination and dedication are the tools you’ll need to get you there.

    What Are You Passionate About?

    Passionate Skater

    These are the things that you are interested in that fuel your passion, and help build good character….it’s what makes you tick. The traits of many athletes are the core foundation for their success. Here are a few examples of Good Leadership and Character traits:

    Good Leadership Traits

    • Integrity & Honesty
    • Confidence
    • Inspire Others
    • Commitment and Passion
    • Good Communicator
    • Decision-Making Capabilities
    • Accountability
    • Delegation and Empowerment

    Good Character Traits

    • Respectfulness
    • Responsibility
    • Humility
    • Compassion
    • Fairness

    Other Examples

    Here’s some basic examples of Good Character and Leadership:

    • Helping others: Do you find it rewarding when you help someone other then yourself?
    • Showing Responsibility: Do you own-up to your mistakes or failures without blaming others?
    • Being Unafraid: Do you shy away from trying something new at the thought of failure or fear of being unaccepted by others?

    The Total Athlete – Mind & Body

    In today’s modern day of training it’s not all physical. If an athlete is not mentally tough they will fold at the first sign of failure. Building strong character traits will help build any athletes confidence and teach them how to pick themselves up after being knock-down.

      Next Step

      The next step is to look at your skills as the building blocks for you to achieve maximum performance. Find out how they fit into your passions. Feed off your character and use it to your own advantage because we’re all good at something.

      Progress Diary

      Now that you know what skills you need to work on be sure to chart your progress using your own notes. This way you can go back and see how you achieved success and continue to build confidence along the way. Measure each skill using your own scale (1-5) with 5 being the best.

      Video Tape

      The bottom line is if you can’t have fun doing the thing you love then you may need to reassess the situation or take a break. Getting rest and knowing when to take a break will only make the player or skater a stronger athlete in the end. Video-tape your progress, it’s the perfect way for you to allow yourself to look back and see the gains you have made.

      Reward

      There will be nothing more rewarding in the end than reaping the rewards of your hard work by winning that medal, trophy or team championship. Hard work and discipline will take any person or athlete a long way throughout their life in helping them achieve the goals they set out for themselves.

      The lessons you learned along the way are just as important as the accomplishments you achieved. They make us stronger and wiser. Life lessons, whether good or bad, make us who we are today. Learn how to work on your weaknesses and excel at your talents.

      Ready to get started?

      Get Started

      Follow each step we outlined and soon you’ll be on your way to owning your own synthetic ice rink. Understanding the benefits and "The True Value of Synthetic Ice Training" will help lead your Hockey Player or Figure Skater on their way to maximizing their full potential.

      Conclusion

      Now that you know more about the benefits of synthetic ice training you can map out a plan to get your rink project started. Remember, every person has different needs (and budgets), so you need to find out what’s best for you. Each new self-taught skill will provide you with the building blocks to achieving your goals!

      With synthetic ice, you’re provided with a new tool that can help you get an “edge” over the competition so why not take advantage of it? It’s time to “Bring the Rink Home”!

      "Express Yourself" with your own Home Rink

      "Express Yourself" with your own Home Rink

      Kendal PracticeFigure skaters and Ice Dancers like Kendal work hard to develop their own routine outside of the physical committments of getting all the jumps and moves down. The power and energy of expression can not be underestimated especially when trying to win over the judges during a competition. The training along the way can be intense as most people don't clearly realize just how much work goes into these routines.

      The Ice Arena is no longer the only place where a skater can work on their Kendal at Homecreative talents while broadening their horizons and not waste precious ice time in the process. Skaters can now utilize their own home environment on as little as 32 square feet of space while wearing their skates......just like a batter warming up before heading to the plate! Having that little extra time to get it right can sometimes help make the difference between taking home the trophy or not even placing.

      Kendal and Dad MattIn a world where the emphasis always seems to be "bigger is better" quite the opposite can be true when working on the mental aspect of preparing for an ice competition. Skaters building there routines have already choreographed and timed their performancer to music and can build on that using very little space as in their mind they can see it perfectly. Being on skates only helps enhance the skaters experience and with the use of portable (infused) synthetic ice panels this is now a reality!

      With advancements in all aspects of sports training and medicine athletes are Kendal takes the Trophyconstantly looking to get a "jump" on their competition (pun intended;-)....and why not when the opportunity is there? Many successful athletes use all the tools available to them to advance their skills and build confidence in taking their abilities to the next level. Synthetic ice training centers have been on the rise throughout the hockey community and it's only a matter of time before competitive skating starts to catch-up. The "Home Ice Advantage" is great solution to when the closest Ice Arena is closed during the off-season and as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say, "There's no place Like Home!"

      Be Sure to follow Kendal on her instagram page @Love_Skate_Kendal

       

       

       

       

      How to Decide on what Synthetic Ice Rink to Buy

      How to Decide on what Synthetic Ice Rink to Buy

      ChecklistSo you've finally decided you like the idea of investing in a synthetic ice rink for your hockey player or figure skater so they can enjoy ice skating at home. Then as you start to do your research you quickly become overwhelmed and wonder which way to turn after trying to educate yourself on what is truly the "Best" synthetic ice product available at a reasonable price. 

      When things start to get a little cray it's always best to take a step back and evaluate the reasons why you started your search in the first place. This can help you access what makes the most sense moving forward BEFORE buying your synthetic ice rink.

      your research and take pen to paper to consider these four basic questions that you need to ask yourself before beginning your Home Rink project:

      (Checkout this brief description: What is Synthetic Ice? https://youtu.be/mS9IUindnTE )

      Who is the Rink for?

      This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself once you begin the process. How would you classify your skater?:

      1. Beginner
      2. Advanced Skater

        Beginner: If your synthetic ice rink is intended for a beginner that wants to learn how to skate, Beginnertrust me when I say you do not need much more than 100 square feet to achieve this goal. The nice thing is there are many options available today that can help you create either a "skating lane" or runway for forward and backward strides or mini-rink shape for cross-overs and turns. The age and/or size of the skater will help you decide on the overall size of your start-up rink

        Advanced SkaterAdvanced Skater: If the rink project is for an advanced skater that you know has already committed a lot of time to work on their skills then you may feel more comfortable investing in a larger rink knowing it will be put to good use. Keep in mind that an advanced skater can also can make great use out of a smaller space

        What is the Purpose of your Rink?

        There are so many applications and reasons to install an artificial ice rink but simply put lets classify them as:

        Recreational Use: If you simply want the easiest skating experience that feels theRecreational most natural when compared to real ice then purchasing an infused surface would be your ideal choice. An infused or “self-lubricating” synthetic ice surface is manufactured with a slip agent additive during the manufacturing process that makes it extra slick and reduces surface friction.

        TrainingTraining: If your skater is focused on trying to become a stronger skater then resistance is a good thing (as many trainers will tell you) and you don't necessarily have to find the product with the lowest coefficient of friction to achieve your goals. You can save yourself a considerable amount of money by going with a non-infused surface and adding a light application of silicone spray that will greatly “speed-up” the surface and reduce friction.

        What Size Should Your Rink Be?

        In today’s Day in age there really is no limit to how big or small you can make your synthetic ice rink project. People looking for a simple gift for a friend or young one can purchase just a few lightweight panels and call it a day. Other folks may be avid skaters and want to go “all-in” with a scaled-down professional looking rink complete with Dasher Boards, Players Benches and Penalty box with scoreboard.

        As with any backyard or home rink project there is literally no end to what you can create with a little bit of know-how and ingenuity! To help you work through this process let’s classify it simply as Small and Large:

        Small (under 300 SF): Considering an average 1-car garage measures around Small12ft x 22 ft. a standard 12’ X 20’ rink layout would maximize this space. If you rink is for a young skater to learn the basic skills of ice skating and hockey this is Plenty of space. USA Hockey has trumpeted the Small Games approach for many years now as a great way to repeat the fundamentals in a small confined space. Stride, crossover, turn, pivot and shoot!.....repeat!….repeat!….repeat!!

        With figure skaters this is enough space to work on jumps and spins, two of the most important fundamentals of any routine! You DON’T need a lot of space to exercise the fundamentals of either of these sports!

        When choosing a panel size for a small rink layout you have many options to consider for indoor rink projects. Thinner, smaller synthetic ice tiles are lightweight and portable and can be easily stored away. If your small rink is outdoors then a heavier ½” thick panel would be recommended in regions with large temperature swings from night to day.

        Large RinkLarge (Over 300 SF): If you've allocated a large dedicated space for your rink (over 300 SF) you may want to opt for larger panels with less seams over your rink layout. If you’re planning a larger budget for a dedicated space then it makes no sense to use a small skating tile that will “pepper” your rink with seams that will accumulate dirt and be a challenge to keep clean.

        Connection Types and Panel Sizes:

         If you prefer a quicker connection method then the "dovetail" profile will help Dovetailmake your project a quicker one. If your space is for multi-purpose use and not just dedicated for the rink then it would be wise to choose a lighter, more portable panel for easy set-up and breakdown so the space can be quickly utilized for other things when not in use.

        Tongue and GrooveWIth a dedicated space you would want to consider a larger panel that will have less connections and overall seams on your synthetic ice surface. If you're not pressed for time with the installation of your rink you could entertain a spline or "tongue and groove" connection method that takes a little longer and involves multiple parts.

        What is Your Budget?

        No doubt, this one is the overall Bottom Line! Be sure to limit yourself to what you can afford BEFORE getting your synthetic ice project started. This is the ultimate reality check in deciding what truly makes sense and will address all your needs without making you broke.BudgetThe good news is that there are now lightweight panels available on the market that can help you “Grow your Rink” along with your budget. If your rink project is for a young “learn to Skate” beginner you can simply set-up a small space for them to start taking Baby Steps that will soon turn into strides!

         

        For additional information or to request a quote simply Click Here

        By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice

        www.polyglideice.com

        Where Can Synthetic Ice Be Installed?

        Where Can Synthetic Ice Be Installed?

        Synthetic ice surfaces are no different than any other flooring products with the exception that you can ice skate on it. With this I mean that in order to install any typical flooring products such as ceramic tiles, hardwood flooring, flooring laminates or linoleum you must have a firm and flat sub-floor. This will help insure that your synthetic ice panels lay flat and the connections are virtually seamless.

        Be sure to thoroughly clean your sub-surface area free of debris before installing your synthetic ice panels. If you plan on installing your ice on concrete flooring be sure to check for flatness first with a straight edge. Remember that concrete is not a manufactured sub-surface and any sudden dip or deviation can cause your panels to lift or “bounce”.

        Should you have any issues with your concrete one easy solution is to lay down aDriCore plywood underlayment to even out the sloping before installing your synthetic ice. First test out the area by installing a few panels to check for flatness. If you are installing a larger outdoor surface that will be exposed to the elements a polymer tarp or underlayment can help with expansion and prevent any raised panels or edges.

        Expansion Provisions

        Much the same way flooring laminates require a gap around the perimeter synthetic ice must also be treated in the same way....like a "floating floor" that is allowed to expand and contract with temperature changes. To do this a slight gap must be made around the perimeter or outside edge of your rink. Mechanical fasteners are NOT to be used to secure your ice in place as this will prevent expansion and contraction and stress out your surface. Making these provisions will help lessen stress on the surface especially on outdoor rinks in cold climate areas with large temperature "swings" between the night and day.

        Dasher BoardsIf you plan to install a Dasher Board System with your new rink it is advised not to install it on top of your surface as this could also restrict expansion. Over the lifetime of the rink you may develop stress fractures by using this method. There are many ways to create an expansion gap below the perimeter kickplate that creates a space for expansion and is virtually invisible.

        Taking the time to “Pre-Plan” before beginning your rink project will pay off in the long term and help avoid unnecessary issues that otherwise may occur. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions and ask questions if you’re not sure what is the best way to install your rink.

        Preventive Maintenance

        As with any outdoor backyard product preventive maintenace plays an importanant role in the longevity and upkeep of your synthteic ice rink. Sometimes season care is required for outdoor rinks depending on where you live and your surroundings.

        Extreme Weather

        One of the biggest enemies of synthetic ice is REAL ICE. During extreme cold weather freezing of the surface from ice build-up must be prevented. A frozen rink will not be able to expand when temperatures rise which can stress-out the surface and can cause stress cracks over time if provisions are not made.

        If the weather report calls for a heavy ice or snow storm when you know you willstormy weather not be using your outdoor rink, it would be wise to cover or tarp your surface. Maintaining your rink over the long term, keeping it clean and allowing it to “breath” will insure it will maintain optimal glide and performance for many years to come.

        Exposure

        falling leavesIf you live in a region that is seasonal and have a rink that will be exposed to falling leaves this is the ideal time to keep your surface covered when not in use. Also, areas that may be exposed to sand or dust storms during different times of the year. A common sense approach with preventive maintenance will go a long way to keeping your rink in top shape while in use.

        Tarp Options

        When selected a tarp to cover your outdoor rink be sure to get one that is Poly Tarpprotected from the UV sunlight. Also, you will want to opt for a light color or white tarp to help reflect the sun. Dark colored tarps will attract sunlight and heat-up your surface that could present issues for your connections.

        Quick Outdoor Solutions

        Synthetic ice rinks can be installed virtually anywhere, anyplace at anytime and because of the cost of refrigerated natural ice, it truly is the ultimate Green product substitute and the next best thing. That being said, we included a quick few ideas here on how you can prep any outdoor space for your ice. Here’s a few quick outdoor solutions that will provide an adequate sub-floor for your rink project or event:

        Shed Deck (wood)

        Shed Deck - If you are considering installing your synthetic ice rink on grass or a slightly uneven surface you will need to install a sub-floor FIRST to make sure the subsurface is flat enough to support your rink. A simple way to achieve this is by shed deckconstructing a "shed deck" by using exterior grade plywood on top of pressure-treated stringers. Using manufactured pressure-treated sheeting or similar flat materials will provide a good base for your rink surface.

        FastDeck Temporary Flooring (Polymer Plastic)

        FastDeck There are many different types of snap-together temporary eventFastDeck flooring. FastDeck temporary flooring has many applications, is strong yet still lightweight and easy to store. These polymer panels easily snap together with no need for tools or trained labor of any kind and can quickly be dissembled.

        Staging (Metal)

        Staging – In areas where extra provisions may need to be made ( for example: Portable Stagingover a swimming pool or open space) an aluminum or steel frame staging structure may the best solution. Of the three options this is clearly the most costly but may certainly makes sense if your rink project will be for an extended period of time not short term.

        Cleaning Options

        Synthetic ice rink maintenance is really no different than many types of hardwood surfaces. The main difference is the surface is white and dirt becomes more apparent over a shorter period of time. Here’s three basic cleaning methods and applications you may want to consider:

        Hose Spray

        hose sprayWhen you start to see your panel connections (dovetail or tongue and groove) become more visible or pronounced, it’s probably time to hose it down. Don’t wait too long because it will only make the job that much more difficult. It won’t be long to your able ascertain how frequently you’ll need to clean.

        PH Neutral Soap

        With an indoor rink you are limited to the amount of water you can use to clean Simple Greenyour surface. To break-up the dirt apply a PH Neutral soap applied with a spray mist. Wipe clean with a flat micro-fiber mop until dry and repeat until the surface is clean.

        Power-Washing

        power washerIf you're guilty of neglecting your outdoor rink for a prolonged period of time and are in need of some immediate help, then power-washing is a perfectly fine option. Using a power washer is a great way to clean-up your rink "grout lines" at the connections and make your surface look new again. It's always a good idea to scrub-down your rink first to loosten the dirt before you start to powere-wash.

        Plan for Success

        A little pre-installation planning will help make your rink project a successful one. Take out the time to consider all the costs and factors to make sure you limit the amount of potential issues that may arise before getting started. The main thing is to be sure not to rush your installation, just follow these few simple guidelines and you’ll be happy you went the extra mile once you see your rink up and running!