By using the best synthetic ice for your practice area or hockey rink, winter sports don’t need to be limited by the natural environment – at all.
With some handy artificial ice around to fill in the gap when natural ice isn’t around, ice skating can be done any time of year.
Have you ever tried skating on synthetic ice? While the average person may not ever encounter it, there’s a good chance an ice hockey player in your life has used a synthetic ice rink for training purposes where real ice is out of reach.
Everyone, from ice hockey players to figure skaters can reap the benefits of getting in some practice time on synthetic ice. Let’s take a look at what synthetic ice is, and why it can be so beneficial.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Synthetic ice, sometimes referred to as artificial ice, is a surface made of carefully interlocked panels coated with a polymer material, made to simulate real, natural ice.
With synthetic ice tiles, a person can skate anytime, anywhere. Synthetic panels do not need cold and require less maintenance than a traditional ice rink.
Who Uses Synthetic Ice?
Who needs to use a synthetic ice surface, anyway? The answer is more people than you’d think!
The reason synthetic ice was invented was to ensure people who wanted to play winter sports, like hockey or figure skating, could do so without the cold needed to maintain natural ice. It’s extremely beneficial to athletes like hockey players who need constant practice, but may not always have access to a rink.
People living in climates that cannot maintain an ice rink can use a synthetic ice product to provide a skating experience regardless. Sports teams can install synthetic ice into arenas to give more ice time to players in a synthetic rink if they can’t get to a real one. This way, players can practice key skills like puck handling or hockey stick tricks even when they’re “off” the ice.
Benefits of Synthetic Ice
What are the benefits of synthetic ice? Let’s take a look!
Synthetic Ice Can Be Used Year-Round
As we’ve touched on above, synthetic ice does not need to stay cold. This means regardless of your climate, you can still put your hockey skates on and glide around the rink if it’s filled with synthetic ice panels.
Skating in the middle of August? It’s possible with synthetic ice panels!
Synthetic Ice Can Be Installed Anywhere
When people think about hockey training, they picture long days at the public rink. A traditional ice rink needs a lot of work to be maintained and installed. You have to keep it at a cool temperature and be able to resurface it with large tools like a Zamboni. It’s a lot of work to create a surface safe enough to ice skate on.
With synthetic ice flooring tiles, though, you can have the arena experience anywhere. As long as you have the space for installation, you can have your own private rink without any of the tools you’d usually need to maintain it.
This is a huge plus for more serious athletes. Have an open basement? Consider installing some synthetic ice, so you can practice shooting skills even at home. Have an open venue that’s not being used? Transform your open floor into a skate space for the public to enjoy. If you have the square foot space waiting to be utilized, synthetic ice can be a fun transformation to any space.
Synthetic Ice Is Cheap to Maintain
A skate blade can do a lot of damage to traditional ice, making it costly to maintain. But all of that goes out the window with artificial ice.
You don’t need to worry about daily ice resurfacing with synthetic ice, as skate blades won’t cause damage to the surface as easily. You also don’t have to deal with the associated costs of refrigerating your ice to keep it nice and cold. If you have the space for an arena, but don’t have the budget to maintain real ice, synthetic ice can provide a nice middle ground.
Synthetic Ice Cons
Of course, no product is perfect. Even the best synthetic ice can have some negatives associated. Here are some cons you should keep in mind when considering installing synthetic ice:
Synthetic Ice Can Damage Skates
Unfortunately, synthetic ice can lead to some damage to an ice skate blade over time. Synthetic ice has to be made of a hard polymer surface to provide a sturdy surface to players that will not wear down. While the hardness of the polymer works to protect the surface from breaking down, it can also lead to quick skate dulling for players.
Synthetic Ice Has More Friction
When using synthetic ice, there is going to be a bit more friction than what you’d find with natural ice. Natural ice has the benefit of being extremely smooth after resurfacing. Synthetic ice is not as naturally smooth, and cannot be easily resurfaced if it becomes damaged.
In a way, though, this extra friction can be a good thing! Players practicing on synthetic ice will have to build up a bit more endurance to combat the friction on their glide. This, in turn, can make them a bit more powerful in their glide on real ice when they return to the arena.
Shopping for Synthetic Ice?
If you’re in the market for some synthetic ice, reach out to the team as Cascadia Sport Systems! We have years of experience in the sports industry, with a wide range of sports arena solutions waiting for you.
Our synthetic ice product has transformed venues, including the creation of a shooting room for the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association. We’re proud to help sports centers transform their spaces, creating new training opportunities for players. Reach out today to get your own quote, and transform your space!