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    Get Creative with PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    Get Creative with PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    There are now so many options when it comes to ice skating including owning your own PolyGlide Synthetic Ice rink to practice skating at home.

    Hundreds of thousands of people head out to the rink with each passing season to disconnect from their phones for a few hours just to enjoy a leasurely skate.

    Unfortunately, this may not be the case depending on where your live.

    Having easy access to ice can be a challenge for many people looking to hit the ice each year.

    Initial reports have some famous ice rinks closing due to health concerns and anticipated low attendance.

    Many of these rinks depended on hundreds of daily visitors.

    They can lose thousands of dollars in overhead costs and reduced business.

    Rink closures are a huge blow to avid ice skaters who look forward to ice skating with friends and family.

    Recently many ice rinks are forging ahead with implementing strict protocols in place for safety.

    For instance, the famous Cosmopolitan skating rink in Las Vegas will be going ahead as planned, limited to 60 skaters.

    For others, being fully operational to the public may not be possible.

    However, there may still be some ways that businesses and skaters can pivot to enjoy the ice sports they love so much.

    From going virtual to investing in synthetic ice tiles, here are some holiday ice rinks alternatives to consider.

     

    Culver City Ice Rink

    The Businesses of Ice Rinks

    Skating rinks and other holiday ice rinks may be seasonal, but the business is a multimillion-dollar market.

    Ice rinks make money from using the rink, concession stands, skate rentals, and even skate sharpening.

    Holiday ice rinks also employ hundreds of people for seasonal work. 

    Covid Rink Safety

    It’s All about Safety.

    While several rinks will be closed due to restrictions or profitability, for those who aren’t mandated, safety must be the top priority.

    Simple steps like masks, spaced out customer traffic, sanitizing equipment, and temperature checks can minimize issues.

    Even with safety protocols in place, there will still be a significant decline in traffic.

    So there are a few ways that businesses can pivot to make the most of the holiday season

    Consider Exclusive Rentals. 

    People love exclusivity, and for ice skating, it will be no different.

    To compensate for revenue, holiday ice rinks should consider renting out the rink on particular days for small corporate events like skating discos, team bonding, or fun tournaments.

    Companies are still looking for ways to improve their staff morale.

    A controlled event in an open space like ice skating can do just that.

    More importantly, rink owners can charge corporate rates per skater, increasing overall profit.

    These holiday rink owners will need to show safety protocols at the rink.

    Consider marketing to nearby firms, small businesses, and even celebrities to book as many personal, safe events as possible. 

    Skating Event

    Host a Virtual Skating Event.

    Why not put on a show?

    Collaborate with amateur and professional figure skaters or dance troupes to put on a virtual event.

    You can have skating enthusiasts pay for exclusive access to the event.

    With the impact of covid-19, virtual events have risen significantly.

    Persons are more likely to pay for special occasions they can view in the comfort of their own homes.

    The added income from virtual events can supplement the lost revenue from reduced capacity.

     

    Get Creative

     

    Care for a Collab?

     In these difficult times, businesses are stronger together.

    A collaborative event or effort can be profitable for both parties.

    How can your company team up with another to create a successful event or promotion?

    This may even mean collaborating with your competition.

    For instance, companies like ours sell synthetic ice tiles that can be used at home.

    Can your team provide virtual training lessons or sell skates to these users?

    For many holiday ice rink providers, staying afloat means being creative and stepping out of their comfort zones. 

    Home Skaters Need to Pivot Too.

    With over 6 million active skaters in the country, there will be always be a need for available ice time.

    For many, skating is more than a seasonal activity; it’s a way of life.

    Others are just excited to hone their skills, learn skating, or connect with their friends and family in a fun way.

    Best of all, it’s a tradition that connects thousands of families.

    With major ice rinks closing for the holidays, it seems to be all but over.

    We know the joy that skating brings and that joy is what motivated us to create our company.

    Luckily, there are a few ways to still enjoy skating no matter where you live, regardless of climate.

    Backyard Rink

    Build Your own Backyard Rink

    Have some space in your backyard?

    Why not take on a cool holiday project?

    Get your friends or family together and build a backyard rink.

    Even during these difficult times, you can build a relatively inexpensive rink.

    Look for a level surface in your back yard.

    If the space appears sloped, you’ll need to fill it in.

    You’ll also need to time it well, starting the days leading up to the first freeze.

    Then you’ll need materials for rink walls (wood, PVC, or special sideboards) and brackets to hold them in place.

    You can even get professionally made dasher boards for that authentic rink feel.

    Next, fill up your rink with water and let nature get to work.

    In short order, you’ll have a rink that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy. 

     

    synthetic ice

     

    Take it Inside with PolyGlide Synthetic Ice Tiles.

    Does setting up a DIY backyard rink sound tedious?

    Or maybe you don’t have the weather in your favor.

    Then consider investing in Polyglide Synthetic Ice tiles.

    Synthetic ice tiles are made of a strong but smooth polymer that’s perfect for skating and quite portable at only 10lbs. each.

    These tiles connect like puzzle pieces and can fit on almost any hard surface.

    On these smooth polymer sheets, you can use regular ice skates and have an amazng skating experience.

    You can choose infused ice, which are self-lubircating tiles.

    These maintain their smoothness and has less friction.

    Non-infused need a additional liquid enhancer but has been known to stay cleaner for longer.

    To set up your synthetic ice tiles:

    • Measure your room, driveway, deck or backyard. Leave a small space at the edges to compensate for swelling due to heat.
    • Order your panels. At Polyglide Ice, we have panels available for any skating activity. However, we can customize your panels to fit your space.
    • Once you receive them, install your panels using a soft mallet. Make sure the surface is flat and even. If it isn’t, plywood boards can help. 

    So if you have a spare room, basement, it’s a great way to start or continue skating in the safety of your home.

    Synthetic ice panels like ours can last more than a decade, so you can pick them up and reuse them for the holidays.

    Or you can use them around throughout the year to become an exceptional skater or stay in shape.

     

    PolyGlide Curling Rink

    Try Your Hand at Curling!

    With these changes in effect, it’s a great time to try something new.

    Besides ice skating, there are other fun, safe ice activities you can try at home.

    We’re a big fan of curling.

    The sport has been around for more than 400 years and involves sliding large stones along ice towards a target area.

    Curling rinks have gone indoors for some time now and our PolyGlide-Pro Curling Synthetic Ice Rinks can be installed virtually anywhere!

    You can set up a curling rink in a spare room or family room for hours of fun.

    A small, trusted group of friends could come over and enjoy the holiday your way. 

    Still Venture Out (Safely)

    While some popular rinks will be closed, there may be smaller rinks in your area open for business.

    If you’re comfortable heading out and confident in your safety protocols, then try a smaller rink.

    Research the rules and safety measures in place by the rink, to help you make a better decision.

    If possible, schedule the time you’ll be visiting to minimize your interactions.

    Take your own skates if possible.

    If you can safely navigate the rink, you’ll be doing your part to help rink owners stay afloat in what has been a challenging year. 

    Conclusion

    The last few years have created an unfortunate blow to many businesses including the local ice rinks that we’ve enjoyed for years.

    With the large crowds some rinks draw, it’s understandable why most rinks have no choice but to close up shop; some of their biggest clients won’t be investing in rinks this year.

    However, for those that are up and running, these challenging times can bring out creativity and resilience that can help for years to come. 

    Skaters will also feel disappointed this year.

    However, there are alternatives, like a portable home rink, that anyone can enjoy with close friends and family.    

    Take a second and check out some of our most popular rink packages that are easy to assemble and will have you skating in no time!

    PolyGlide Ice - Home Ice Tiles

    PolyGlide Ice - Pro-Glide Panels

     

    Keep on Skating! 

    Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice
    www.polyglideice.com

                                             

    Synthetic Ice: How To Build and Maintain Your Backyard Rink

    Synthetic Ice: How To Build and Maintain Your Backyard Rink

    The backyard ice rink has a long history....almost as long as people have been lacing-up!

    Ice skating is one of the oldest sports known and one of the first in the London Olympics in 1908.

    Since then, the sport has evolved to different disciplines including short speed skating and long speed skating.

    Ice skating also added team sports to the mix with hockey, curling, and other amazing sports.

    However, that meant avid skaters did not have access to skating facilities in the offseason.

    The creation of indoor rinks allowed ice skating year-round, but there was still one underserved group:

    the synthetic ice skating rink

    What is an Synthetic Ice Skating Rink?

    Artificial ice skating rinks are made of a strong, interlocking polymer sheet.

    The panels come infused with a self-lubricating compound that reduces friction and creates a fantastic skating experience. Some panels are non-infused and need occasional treatment with a gliding compound.

    The panels. could be cut into almost any shape, with rectangular panels the most popular.

    The panels connect like puzzle pieces and cover a large surface area.

    The area is cordoned off using plywood, or special boards, then a topper to make the rink look polished.

    One popular public rink is the Rockefeller Center, with several rinks popping up in malls, fairs, and amusement parks around the world. 

    backyard ice rink

    Moving to the backyard

    As synthetic panels became more affordable and accessible, hundreds of people across the country started creating their own artificial ice skating rinks.

    With all that space in the backyard, why not a backyard ice rink?

    It’s a great training tool for advanced ice skaters, figure skaters, and hockey players.

    Newcomers can have a fun space to learn skating and playing their favorite ice sport.

    However, there are some key steps everyone should take to build and maintain their backyard artificial ice skating rink.

    Choose your space

    Based on the size space you have available, you may have some options as to where you’ll place your backyard ice rink.

    That will also determine theoverall size.

    Make sure to avoid excess water or areas that could potentially damage your skating space.

    Choose Your Tools.

    The panels easily fit into each other, so you will need just a few tools to create the perfect rink.

    Helpful tools include a measuring tape, a level, and a soft mallet.

    If the rink will be self-contained, you will need boards for the enclosure.

    Depending on the size of the rink, you may need to recruit some help.

    Keep a level head

    It’s important to start out with a level surface area in the back yard.

    Artificial ice panels usually need hard surface but most backyards are grass-filled.

    An uneven surface can create a poor skating experience. Furthermore, uneven surfaces affect the longterm durability of your panels.

    Find the most even ground in the backyard.

    If your backyard space has no grass or soil, that’s perfect.

    In the event the ground is made of dirt and uneven, try filling the uneven spaces with soil.

    That would help when it’s time to lay down the subfloor. 

    Measure twice, cut once

    Mark the area you’re going to use with some string after measuring with tape.

    That way you can calculate how many artificial panels you will need for the rink.

    Rink builders can waste time and money by ordering too many or few artificial panels.

    Feel free to contact the company to help estimate the panels you’ll need.

    You can actually save time and money by purchasing 1-2 large panels instead of smaller panels. 

    Time For a Subfloor

    With the panels in your possession, it’s time to decide on the subflooring.

    Do you need a sub-flooring? Well, it depends. If the yard is grass, sub-flooring is crucial.

    Even a paved surface may have uneven parts.

    An underlay such as ¾” plywood panels can help create a smooth skating experience.

    Measure the area and install the subfloor or deck before installing the artificial ice panels.

    Connecting your artificial ice panels

    Artificial panels come with interlocking edges for a smooth installation.

    Make sure the panels connect smoothly and fit well on top of the sub-flooring panel.

    Make sure to check the panels to make sure they are level. Use a level tool if necessary.

    Based on the size of the panels, you will need help to move them and fit them into place.

    Adding the boards

    To finish the rink, you may want to install some barriers. Ice skating may not need these boards.

    Ice hockey, however, can get a bit physical.

    Also, a hockey puck can travel at rapid speeds and damage the surrounding property.

    A dasher board is the lower part of the rink enclosure.

    Rink owners can opt for flexible plywood. In some cases, you can also use a similar polyethylene material to the ice panels.  

    Install the dasher board using brackets to fasten them to the boards.

    The boards cannot be fastened to the artificial ice panels.

    Those brackets can damage the panels in the long run.

    However, you can attach the dasher boards to the ground or subflooring.

    Install the panels around the space, leaving an open part for easy entry and exit. 

    Maintenence

    A backyard ice rink can be fun for ice skating and hockey for your family.

    Synthetic panels are durable and usually lasts for several years.

    However, properly maintaining your rink makes sure this happens.

    There are some simple steps to take to make sure your rink stays fresh and even improves with quality over time.

    Cleaning your artificial ice rink

    A common question we get is “can I use my regular skates on artificial panels?”

    Yes, you can!

    Metal skates work well and will not damage your rink.

    Hard stops and turns, however, will create shavings, which is normal.

    Grooves in the panel actually improve the skating experience.

    You can clear the shavings with a soft broom.

    Over time, the rink will accumulate dust and dirt.

    Skating will leave grooves in the panels which can get scuffed.

    More importantly, dirt can increase friction, which can create a poor skating experience.

    Based on how often you and your family use the rink, clean the panels once weekly.

    Spray or spread a simple surface cleaner over the rink.

    Then use a clean mop to remove the dirt.

    Both infused and non-infused surfaces need to be cleaned based on the frequency of use. 

    Dealing with the weather

    If the rink is in the backyard, it will have to deal with different types of weather during the year.

    When installing the panels and dasher board, make sure there is space at the edges.

    Artificial panels, like laminate flooring, can expand with rising temperatures.

    Those hot summer days will be great for skating, however, be aware of other changes in weather.

    While some water on the rink is harmless, excess rain can reduce the life of the panels.

    During the months with excess rain, you will need to cover the rink when it’s not in use.

    Use a large tarp or other water-resistant covering. 

    The same goes for winter months if you live in an area that’s prone to snow.

    A frozen, artificial ice rink sounds like more fun. But ice can damage the artificial panels.

    As counterintuitive as it sounds, make sure to cover the rink during the winter. 

    Resurface your rink for best results

    Over time, you may feel like your skating experience is diminishing, even with excellent care.

    Like a car you’ve had for years, your infused and non-infused surfaces can use an occasional tune-up.

    Make sure to get a synthetic ice conditioner.

    The liquid is made of the same compound that gives the panels its skating ability. T

    o apply, mix some of the synthetic conditioner with some water and add to a spray bottle.

    Then mist it over the panel. You’ll have a skating experience that’s comparable to your neighborhood ice rink.

    Conclusion

    Artificial ice skating panels have evolved over the years.

    Now they emulate the skating experience, are easy to install, and lasts for years.

    It’s no wonder that skating enthusiasts are choosing to create their own skate spaces in the backyard. 

    Use your imagination when skating.

    Play ice hockey with your kids and friends, pick up a new sport, shoot some video for YouTube, or practice your figure skating moves.

    At the same time, it’s important you maintain the rink. 

    Make sure to remove dirt with a simple cleaner occasionally.

    Avoid harsh chemicals that can strip the panels and cause excess friction.

    Make sure to protect the rink with a cover during harsh weather conditions. Treat your rink with a fresh coat of conditioner every now and then. 

    If you need help with building and maintaining your artificial ice rink, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    We can guide you with the right type, size of panels, and tools to build and maintain your space.

    Most of all, we love helping our customers with their DIY rink projects!

     

     

    Best Synthetic Ice for Goalies and Off Ice Training (2022)

    Best Synthetic Ice for Goalies and Off Ice Training  (2022)

    As the sport of ice hockey continues to grow in popularity, more and more goaltenders are looking for ways to improve their skills and take their game to the next level.

    In order to do this, they need to create the ideal off-ice training program while away from the rink that includes access to a high grade synthetic ice surface.

    PolyGlide Ice offers a Pro-Glide infused surface that is simply the best synthetic ice for goalies on the market in that it checks all the boxes for training elite goaltenders.

    The Pro-Glide surface is made of a high-quality polymer that provide a realistic skating experience and lateral glide which is a concern for many goaltenders.

    This enables goalies able to improve their skating technique, reflexes, and puck handling skills without ever leaving your home.

     

    best synthetic ice

     

    Lateral Slide

    Probably one of the most common questions goaltenders ask us when inquiring about our synthetic ice surface is, "How is the lateral glide from post-to-post?

    The great thing about our Pro-Glide infused surface is that the surface friction is greatly reduced by the slip agent additive we infused to each sheet during the manufacturing process.

    There are many synthetic ice products available in todays market that offer minimal glide with very small amounts of slip agent additive in the surface.

    In fact some manufacturers use a topical spray additive during the curing process and don't add any slip agent at all throughout the panel that winds up offering minimal results.

    To get the lateral glide you need we completely infuse each Pro-Glide panel with our proven slip agent that helps maintain the glide throughout both sides of the panel for many years after purchase.

    We've be able to create the ideal panel for goalie training both through in house R&D and direct feedback from goaltenders and trainers alike.

    We've included a few training elements here for you to review to help with your training and be the standout goalie every time you hit the ice!

    polyglide goalie

    Training Elements for Elite Goalies

    There are many different skills both physical and mental that goaltenders need to work on in order to be successful throughout their career.

    These include staying calm under pressure, making good decisions, playing with poise, having a strong rebound control, and being able to make saves consistently.

    If you are looking to improve your skills as an ice hockey goaltender, these are some of the areas you need to focus on!

    Take a minute to review each of these five elements::

    Mental Toughness - Staying Calm Under Pressure

    There are many situations in life when we feel pressure to succeed.

    This pressure can be especially intense when it comes to our careers, hobbies and especially athletes but for goaltenders, the pressure to win can be overwhelming at times.

    It is essential for them to find a way to stay calm under pressure and perform at their best game in and game out all season long....which can sometimes seem quite grueling.

    When the game is on the line and the pressure is mounting, it's important to be able to stay calm and make smart decisions and build the "Mental Toughness" that's required for this position.

    This can be difficult to do, but it is something that all goalies need to work on if they want to be successful at the position and bounce back quickly when things don't go their way.

    One of the most important yet simplest things for any goaltender to do when feeling pressure is to focus on their breathing.

    By taking deep, slow breaths you can help lower your heart rate and calm your nerves and reflexes which is critical.

    It is also important to focus on positive self-talk built within your mental toughness and include it in your daily training "bag of tricks" that you can turn to throughout the season.

    This means telling yourself that you can handle the pressure and that you will achieve your ultimate goal of succeeding regardless of the circumstances.

    Visualization is another helpful technique that involves picturing yourself succeeding in the event or competition as by visualizing success, you are more likely to achieve it.

    There are many other techniques that can help a goaltender stay calm under pressure and you should experiment with them all to find what works best for you.

    Remember, it is crucial to stay calm under pressure if you want to perform at your highest level and achieve success.


    Making Good Decisions

    How do goaltenders make good decisions during a game and perform at their highest level?

    This is an interesting question that has been studied by researchers for many years.

    Some people believe that the best goaltenders are born with the ability to make good decisions under pressure, while others believe that it is a skill that can be learned.

    You need to be able to read the play as it develops and make quick decisions when handling the puck in order to give your team a chance to win.

    This can be difficult, but it is something that you need to work on if you want to round out your overall game and become a standout at the position.

    Some of the best goaltenders are excellent at being "verbal quarterbacks" behind the defense while under attack in their zone.

    They also have to be able to anticipate what the attacking team may do next with the puck and react accordingly.

    Making all of these calculations quickly and accurately is not an easy task and for some goaltenders it comes easily as they stay mentally focused on the game not matter what the score.

    Having self-control is the ability to avoid bad habits and stay focused on what is important and to filter out distractions and focus on the task at hand.

    Goaltenders who want to perform at their highest level should focus on training their working memory and self-control.

    By doing so, they will be better equipped to make quick decisions under pressure and stay focused on the task at hand.

     

    goalie nets

    Playing With Poise

    Playing with poise is essential for any goaltending that wants to succeed in the game of ice hockey and play at the Elite or higher level.

    This means not losing your head when things don't go your way regardless of the scoreboard.

    When goalies are able to play with poise, they often look more confident and perform better when the game is on the line, keeping their composure and making the big save when it matters most.

    It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and make mistakes when the pressure is on, but if a goalie can keep their composure, they increase their odds of getting the win!

      It takes practice, but it's something that all goaltenders can learn to do and build on with each practice and opportunity they get to play....make it matter!


      Controlling Your Rebounds

      There are few positions in sports that are as important as the ice hockey goalie as they are responsible for keeping the puck out of the net, and often face a barrage of shots from the opposing team.

      One of the key ways for goalies to limit scoring chances is by controlling the rebounds in front of the net and having strong rebound control which will ultimately limit scoring chances.

      You need to be able to limit the number of rebounds that your opponent's get in order to give your team a chance to win and is something that must constantly be worked on.

      When the puck hits the goaltender, it can often bounce off in any direction and if they're not able to control where the puck goes, it could end up right in front of the net, giving the opposing team an easy scoring chance.

      To prevent this from happening, goalies must be aware of where they are directing the puck when they make a save and have the awareness to try to direct the puck to an area where there are no opponents, such as behind the net or into the corner.

      In addition to controlling rebounds, goalies must also be quick and agile to prevent their opponents from getting close to the net.

      Often there are times, an opponent will try to take a shot while the goalie is still recovering from making a save.

      To prevent this from happening, goalies must be quick on their feet and able to get back into position quickly.

      They must also have good communication with their defensemen, as they will often be the ones who are able to help keep the opponents away from the net.

      Goalies who are able to control the rebounds and keep their opponents away from the net are often successful at preventing goals.

      By following these tips, goalies can improve their chances of having a successful game.

       

      home synthetic ice irnk

      Make Saves Consistently

      In order to be a successful ice hockey goalie, you need to be able to make saves consistently during a game which can be difficult if you don't have the proper techniques and strategies.

      It's important that you make saves more often using some helpful resources that can further improve your skills as a goalie. 

      Making saves consistently is key  for goaltenders so you can make the big save when your team needs it most!

      One important tip that can help you make more saves is to focus on the puck as this will help you anticipate where it's going and come up with the save

      It can be easy to get distracted by other players on the ice or the crowd noise, but if you want to be successful, you need to keep your eyes on the puck at all times.

      Practice making your saves as much as possible as the more you practice, the better you'll become at making them in game situations. Having a home rink outfitted with the best synthetic ice for goalies affords you the extra ice time to work on those saves!

      If you follow these tips, you'll be well on your way to making more saves during games.

      Conclusion

      There's a lot to consider when looking to take your goaltending skills to the next level and having your own home ice rink definitely helps give you an edge on the competition.

      Synthetic ice is becoming increasingly popular among elite goaltenders to work on all the elements and skills required to get your stats where they need to be.

      Obviously it's up to you to put in the effort but if you're a dedicated player that is ready to put in the work why not offer yourselves the tools you need unlimited ice time!

      If you're looking to take your game to the next level, consider checking out the best synthetic ice for goalies, the PolyGlide Ice Pro-Glide Infused surface.....You won't be disappointed!



      The History of Synthetic Ice Plastic

      The History of Synthetic Ice Plastic

      Tens of millions of people worldwide enjoy ice skating and its many disciplines.

      That is a lot of skating and a lot of ice! 

      Most skaters enjoy this pastime on outdoor rinks or indoor rinks made of natural ice (aka frozen water).    

      But there is also a second option – synthetic ice.    

      The rise in the popularity of synthetic ice could give users the impression that it’s a new, innovative creation.  

      Yet, you would be surprised to discover the history of synthetic ice stretches several decades.  

      And the concept of skating on something else besides natural ice?

      Over 100 years!  

      Alternative forms of ice skating have a deep past. 

      If you’re thinking about investing in synthetic ice panels or you enjoy them daily, you can rest assured that it’s backed by years of evolution.   

       

      synthetic ice plastic

        

      What is Synthetic Ice?   

      Before taking a walk down memory lane, what are synthetic ice panels? 

      Synthetic ice panels are a solid polymer sheet material made from polyethylene plastic.  

      These synthetic ice sheets connect using various methods (dovetail, tongue and groove, flush edge) to form an artificial ice skating surface. 

      With this product, skaters can use the regular metal ice skates for recreational skating, ice hockey, and other ice activities. 

      Since these panels connect like puzzle pieces, synthetic ice can adapt to the size and shape of almost any surface.   

      Ice owners can have as many or little panels as needed. 

      Many of our customers install large rinks in their backyards, while some use a spare room or garage for skating.   

        

      Where It All Began  

      Before ice skating became a sport or recreation, history suggests it was purely out of necessity.

      Thousands of years ago, around 1800 BC, traversing miles and miles of ice was near impossible.  

      Ice skating helped Scandinavians to glide over ice for more food and shelter.   

      Skates were made from large pieces of animal bone with leather straps attached through holes in the bone.   

      Fast forward thousands of years later, and skating on metal blades grew in popularity.

      Finally, around the 13th century, so did skating as a form of recreation. 

      The first signs of an artificial rink began to take shape in the 19th century.

      In the 1840s, the first spaces were filled with water or coolants then frozen for ice skating. 

      These artificial rinks were popular at first but had several limitations.

      They were expensive to create, maintain, and created poor skating experiences.   

      In the early 1900s, these ‘artificial’ rinks evolved into large indoor rinks used for ice hockey (and the subsequent invention of the sport).  

      However, this was still out of reach for the everyday skater.

      Instead, they had to depend on frozen lakes in wintertime or travel to rinks to skate.   

        

      Polymer

       

      Introducing Polymer  

      Around this same time, something else was happening.

      In 1869, a man named John Wesley Hyatt invented synthetic polymer.  

      Synthetic polymer used ingredients like cellulose and camphor to create a product that imitated ivory.  

      Scientists and researchers improved the product, making it more durable and malleable.   

      In the late 1960s, we saw the creation of the first synthetic ice panels using polymer.

      These were large squares installed in small spaces for small groups.  

      The first large-scale synthetic ice plastic rink was developed in the 1980s, which was revolutionary for its time.   

      Skaters no longer needed the right conditions for skating.   

      They no longer had to find professional rinks.  

      More rinks were taking shape.

      As a result, ice skating was quickly growing in popularity.   

       

      Making It Better  

      In the early days, synthetic ice plastic for skating had it's limitations.  

      Polymers could not slide naturally, so rink owners needed to apply a slip surface liquid constantly.

      This liquid gave users the ability to skate on it.   

      These polymers also had low molecular weight.  

      Skating over time would break down the polymer, needing constant replacement.   

      If you think thicker panels were the solution, think again.  

      Polymer surfaces that are too hard strip the skate edge blade down too quickly.  

      This change limited the amount of time one can skate without losing their edge, increasing the cost for skates.   

      There was a demand for a better product, and luckily, the innovation of polymers never stopped.  

      In the 1930s came the creation of polyethylene for use in World War II.

      Then in 1953, scientists Karl Ziegler of the Kaiser Wilhelm and Erhard Holzkamp invented High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE).  

      HDPE was primarily for large pipes.

      However, synthetic ice manufacturers used them for rinks as the material became cheaper and widely available over the decades.

      HDPE made rinks more durable and receptive to slip conditioners.   

      The 1950s also saw the development of Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMWPE). Its odorless, colorless, and the most durable polyethylene made.  

      UHMWPE quickly became the industry standard among most manufacturers and distributors.  

      This material was ideal for large, durable panels that endure heavy traffic. 

      Several years later, rinks appeared in malls, hotels, carnivals, and much more. Ice skaters were surprised at how great it felt.  

      Synthetic ice rinks opened a new group of avid skaters and showed no signs of slowing down. 

      Over the last decade, these materials allowed manufacturers to create synthetic ice products for home use.  

      Machines cut them to precise sizes, allowing tiles or panels for backyards, decks, spare rooms, garages, and driveways.   

        

      Evolution: Slip and Slide  

        

      With the right material in place, the history of synthetic ice made a crucial shift.   

      The goal was to create a product as close to natural ice as possible.

      However, skating still felt a bit clunky and difficult without a slip agent applied before each use.   

      Soon, HDPE and UHMWPE allowed manufacturers to infuse slip agents in the creative process.

      This extra step reduced surface friction, or “coefficient of friction” created by ice skates.  

      Both infused and non-infused rinks require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep the surface from getting "gummed-up".

      Infused surfaces have much less surface friction and can last longer without additives to provide a smoother skating experience.   

      Skaters can expect 10-15% added friction while skating on synthetic ice, meaning the best rinks feel up to 90% close to natural ice.  

      This extra friction has benefits, making it a popular training tool for hockey players and competitive figure skaters alike.   

       All synthetic ice surfaces must be kept clean to provide optimal glide and performance.  

      The metal blades create micro-cuts into the polyethylene.  

      These cuts sound like a bad thing, but they can create a natural skating experience.  

      However, if you leave the shavings on the rink, the opposite happens.

      A certain amount of maintenance is required for both infused and non-infused surfaces for optimal use. 

       A simple soft brush or soapy water and clean mop do the trick.   

       

      Ice Skating in the Park

        

      The Benefits of Synthetic Ice   

      So why choose synthetic ice rinks?

      Moving from natural to synthetic has some fantastic benefits:  

        

      Skate All Year 

      What is the biggest drawback of skating?  

      It’s only accessible through the winter months.

      When it’s not, you must find a refrigerated ice rink.

      However, even refrigerated rinks struggle with humidity and heat at certain times of the year.

      With synthetic panels, you can skate at any time.

      Commercial synthetic ice rinks are open all year. You can also use your at-home rink at any time.

      This makes it an excellent training tool in the off-season for hockey players.   

       
       

      Custom Rink

       

      Customize Your Rink 

      Polyethylene tiles and panels interlock like puzzle pieces.

      That makes them highly flexible in their application.

      Regardless of the size and shape of your space, you can acquire the tiles you need to create a rink.

      Over the years, rink manufacturers have designed products that target specific training needs.

      With synthetic products, you can get what you need and nothing more.

      You can also choose between tiles and panels based on factors like location and how much you would use your rink.   

       
       

      Easy To Set-Up 

      The feeling of skating on natural ice is indescribable.

      However, when someone decides to set up an outdoor rink, they will encounter several obstacles.

      Outdoor rinks depend on water, engineering, and good weather for the best result.

      Refrigerated rinks, on the other hand, require expertise, lots of equipment, and time.

      With synthetic ice, you could be set up in an hour.

      On a flat surface, lay down and connect the panels with a soft mallet.

      You can read more about ice rink setups from our DIY backyard rink blog.  

       
       

      A Durable Product 

      Years of product development have led to Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMWPE) rinks, the strongest available.

      On average, UHMWPE rinks can last ten years or more.

      All you need to do is some basic cleaning and maintenance.

      When you’re done, cover your indoor rink (or your outdoor rink) to protect it from dirt and damage.   

       

      A Cost-Effective Option 

      Refrigerated ice rinks are long-lasting, but the parts and maintenance can run into thousands per year.

      Creating a natural ice rink is cheaper, but there are water and electric costs.

      There’s also the possibility of flooding your yard, which can take more time and money to address.

      Synthetic ice rinks require an upfront cost.

      However, the rink lasts for several years, needs no special setup, and saves money on utilities.

      Use those savings to invest in skates and equipment!   

       
       

      A Great Business Decision 

      Businesses like malls, museums, and hotels can also set up seasonal rinks for hockey and recreational use at a fraction of the cost.

      Refrigerated ice rinks have advantages, but they can run into the millions based on size and needs.  

       Instead, businesses can form long-term relationships with manufacturers to create rinks that everyone will enjoy.   

        

      The Future of Synthetic Ice  

      So what’s next for synthetic ice?

      Without a doubt, the product is here to stay.

      Several permanent synthetic ice rinks are set up around the country.

      Hundreds more pop up during the winter holidays.

      And thanks to customizable ice panels, thousands of people have synthetic ice in their homes.

      Here are some things to look forward to:  

        

      Technology and skating 

      Synthetic ice is not going to be left behind.

      The pandemic saw a boom in online coaching and training, using apps like Zoom.

      Synthetic ice allows both coach and student to skate in their homes, uninterrupted.

      We will see more online ice skating and hockey training, which was unheard of a decade ago.   

        

      Getting closer to zero 

      Technology has also helped the product make leaps in performance, durability, and customization.

      Yet, we feel that technology can still impact synthetic ice.

      One of the biggest complaints is its coefficient of friction, which is only as low as 10%.

      Can advancements in polyethylene cut this figure in half?   

      green product

      Going green 

      Synthetic ice panels have already made a positive impact on the environment.  

      Opting for panels reduces your carbon footprint.

      You also receive a long-lasting, recyclable product.  

      Yet, there is still a growing demand by society for businesses to create sustainable products.   

      We may see synthetic panels 100%, created with recyclable materials, or even biodegradable!  

        

      Professional games on synthetic ice 

      If synthetic ice closes the friction divide, would we see it in the NHL soon?  

      With the right research and development, this may be possible. 

      At the end of the day, nothing beats actual ice for athletes.  

      The added friction of synthetic ice may lower speed or impact quick changes in direction.  

      However, it is still an exceptional skating tool for all levels.   

       

      Conclusion  

      When you choose synthetic ice, you get a product that has been around for decades.   

      It’s been redesigned over the years to provide a skate near the real thing.   

      When you choose synthetic ice over refrigerated ice, you get a cost-effective, durable product that lasts for years.   

      And since tiles and panels come in standard sizes, you are no longer limited by your space.  

      You can go as large or as small as you need.  

      Families or athletes can use it at any time in the year for fun or training.   

      If you need help deciding on your synthetic ice, reach out to our team.  

      We have years of experience with synthetic ice, and our products are designed to provide the best skate that is not on natural ice.   

       

      Keep on Skating! 

      Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice
      www.polyglideice.com




      The 7 Ways Skateable Tiles Can Save You Money (2022)

      The 7 Ways Skateable Tiles Can Save You Money (2022)

      It's important to fully understand how skateable tiles can be a true asset to any skater both on the ice and in your pocket!

      There's a lot that you really need to consider when trying to determine the total cost value of any product and synthetic ice is no different.

      We drafted a list of seven impacted categories that will help you ascertain what you would be getting back from your investment.

      You'll quickly see just how much money you would be putting back in your pocket once you decide to purchase skateable tiles.

      1 – Travel

      travel to the ice rink

      There’s no doubt that the number one reason people consider purchasing skateable tiles is to save on travel.

      We all know the typical costs associated with travel including fuel, tolls, bus, train, maintenance and repairs that all add-up with each mile traveled.

      We found out recently that the “typical” drive to the rink for most parents was not quite what we had originally expected. T

      o try to get an idea of just how much the average hockey player and skater family travels to the rink weekly, monthly and annually, we posed the following question to our facebook followers:

      How Far Do You Travel Back-And-Forth to the Rink Every Week, Month and Year on the Average?

      Here’s a few Responses that do a Good Job at Summing it up:

      • Dana C.: We have three (not so) local rinks; one is 36 minutes to the East, one is 40 minutes West, and the third is 44 minutes West. At least that's what map-quest will tell you. But like Sammy Hagar, I can't drive 55. (but I do now because I got a ticket last week). I've got 2 boys, 5 teams, practices and clinics. Average 5/6 days a week driving to at least one rink. Saturdays can be all three. Since Star Trek transporters aren't available, PolyGlide could be a real help to our fuel economy as well as the boys' game.
      • Jennifer C.: Two kids. Two different rinks, sometimes on the same day 40 mins apart. So, drop one off, drop the other off, go back and pick up 1, then get two. Those days, probably 70 miles. The other days, 30 miles roundtrip for practice, 80-120 miles roundtrip for games. Average 5-7 days at the rinks. I *use* to get the low mileage discount on my insurance lol
      • Andrea R.: 220 to 420 miles a week depending on which team (my daughter plays on all girls league and the co-ed team). For an 8-month season it's between 880-1680 miles a month, 7,040-13,440 miles a season of travel. During the summer months we do dry land on rollerblades since our town only have ice Oct thru May.

      Cost Assessment

      empty pocket budget

      So now ask yourself the same question and see if you can estimate how many miles you plan on traveling to the rink between now and next year.

      At the time of this writing, the one-year cost estimator for a gallon of gas is $3.36 USD.

      So, in estimating our three responses above using 8 months per season and 20 mpg as the average, the breakdown would show that Dana C. would take home the Gold Medal for stops at the gas pump:

      • Dana C, 800 gallons $2,984
      • Jennifer C., 592 gallons $2,208
      • Andrea R., 512 gallons $1,910

      Once you’re able to see how much you’ve been spending on travel you can get a better idea on how you can trim it back by creating your own home training rink.

      2 – Time

      wasted time spent traveling to the rink

      How do you value your time?

      Unlike materialistic things, time is something we never get back though we sure know how to throw it away.

      It is something we cherish, and it passes WAY too fast.

      Though travel may be the most popular reason people consider purchasing skateable tiles, it’s the travel time that can wear us down and is lost forever.

      Players and Skaters

      For players and skaters, by training at home they can eliminate some of that extra travel and afford themselves more time for other things.

      More time for homework, chores, games and just plain fun with that time usually spent on the road traveling to the rink.

      Maybe even more time for an early family dinner and getting to bed at a decent hour and a good night’s sleep.

      Parents

      Walter Gretzky, Father of the “Great One” Wayne Gretzky once said:

      Everyone wonders why I made the rink in the backyard.

      I used to go to the outdoor rinks when winters were a lot colder years ago.

      Everybody had an outdoor rink, the Parks and everybody.

      I used to sit in the car while Wayne was skating.

      I remember one night I came home to my wife and said,

      “This is so stupid, I go to these outdoor rinks and freeze to death night after night…you know what I’m going to do?.…

      I’ll make a rink in the backyard he’ll go when he wants as long as he wants….I’ll be in the house where it’s nice and warm.” …It truly, truly was self-preservation but it worked-out pretty good!

      For parents, not having to rush home to get your child to practice can allow yourself more time to be productive at work or with your own business which itself can translate into additional revenue.

      Having just a few extra hours each week to address your business or personal needs adds up and helps make life a little easier even if it’s just to kick back, relax and stay warm.

      Analyze your schedule and see how you can trim back your trips to the rink by having your player or skater train at home.

      Attached a value to your time per hour saved and challenge yourself to come up with an annual plan.

      You will be astonished when you find out just how much time you have been wasting and how much you can start to save.

      3 – Lessons

      coaches whistle

      Let’s face it, everyone wants to be the next “Great One” or “Alina Zagitova” and will take endless lessons and training to try to get there.

      The need to build a solid foundation by learning the fundamentals are critical for any player or skater’s development and taking lessons from an accomplished Coach will lead them on the right path. 

      Just as important is the child’s need to develop on their own to keep it fun and enjoyable enough to want to get better.

      By allowing a child more time to develop and love the sport they follow on their own will only nurture their desire to want to get better.

      As mentioned previously, the worlds most accomplished Ice Hockey Player of all time started learning the game on his own backyard rink.

      Give your child the time and space to try out new moves or jumps on their own without being on a clock, watched or judged.

      When training in their own home environment you will quickly see how dedicated they are to their sport.

      The overall need for additional lessons once the skill sets have been taught will become fewer and fewer as the athlete progresses.

      Some Coaches may offer home lessons if they know you have your own home rink and may actually charge you less as they don’t have to pay an additional fee to the rink for the ice time.

      Any cost savings associated with self-teaching at home will put more money in the pocket of the parent that utilizes home training to their child’s advantage.

      4 – Camps & Clinics

       

      As with lessons, Camps and Clinics are organized group lessons that can be both a huge help and at the same time a detriment if not implemented properly.

      Sad to say, some facilities will run camps and clinics just to fill the open ice to bring in additional revenue for the rink so be sure to make sure it’s an established program with a history.

      There is a Social element that comes with attending camps as sometimes a child may want to attend for recreation, team building or because a friend may be going which is understandable.

      The price tag for some camps and clinics can be quite costly and would provide a huge savings to anyone owning their own home rink.

      For the purpose of player development, it always will be the amount of time they practice on a weekly basis that will beat out any short-term camp or clinic.

      Many portable home rink packages can be purchased for the same price as sleep-away summer camp and will provide a year-round “endless summer” of ice for any skating athlete.

      5 – Off-Ice Training

      hockey gear for off ice training

      Another great thing about owning your own synthetic ice rink is that it can be utilized as a multi-purpose surface unlike natural ice.

      If a player or skater wants to just come home and work on their shot or spins without lacing-up it’s an added luxury to have with skateable tiles.

      They can create their own personal off-ice training program to address their specific needs.

      Off-Ice training has grown tremendously in popularity in recent years with the advancement of synthetic ice surfaces as facilities continue to pop-up throughout the USA and Canada.

      Having your own home training center is like having your own “ice gym” that you can utilize anytime you want without relying on group workout schedules or ice time.

      By creating your own “Home Ice Gymyou are just one step ahead of the competition when it comes to strength and conditioning.

      It does not require a lot of space to get in your edgework and drills.

      Think of your new synthetic ice rink as your own private training center less the annual membership fee.

      6 – Value

      price and value of synthetic ice

      One thing that many customers don’t realize is that synthetic ice is a unique product that retains its value over the lifetime of the surface and can easily be resold as “Used” if maintained properly.

      In fact, many rink surfaces are re-sold at more than 50% the original cost allowing customers to recoup a good part of their original investment without losing much value.

      When combined with many of the other cost-saving characteristics that sskateable tiles offer, depending on the overall size of the rink, the surface may well eventually pay for itself.

      Be sure to properly maintain and keep your rink in good shape in case one day down the road you decide to cash-in on your investment.

      Save the receipts from your original purchase along with warranty information.

      7 – Long Lasting

      reusable

      Skateable tiles are a Green” product in every sense of the word.

      As opposed to traditional ice facilities that burn hundreds of thousands of dollars on electricity for refrigeration systems and compressors, synthetic ice burns zero fossil fuels.

      You will never have to worry about your electric bill after purchasing skateable tiles.

      Because of the durability of the polymer plastic, it has quite a long-life expectancy outside of just surface scratches from ice skating.

      It is also portable and reusable year after year without the need for liners or leveling.

      No special boards, accessories or pins are required for the PolyGlide Synthetic Ice one-piece interlocking system that can be assembled and disassembled in a short period of time.

      There’s also a lot less labor involved as compared to traditional rink systems and natural ice rink liner systems that depend on additional accessories, leveling and Mother Nature for ice.

      Conclusion

      As you can see with synthetic ice there are many ways you can efficiently reap the rewards from your investment.

      Consider all the ways you can utilize a home synthetic ice rink to improve as a player and skater in the comfort of your own home without relying on your local rink for ice time.

      Look at the big picture and soon you’ll understand there’s no reason why you can’t better your skill sets and save money at the same time.

      When you lay out just where you’ve been spending your time and money it starts to make sense that purchasing skateable tiles for the home can be a great overall investment and asset.