You can find a beautiful synthetic ice facility in Sioux Falls, SD. The Hockey Headquarters did not hold anything back with their 76′ x 32′ size training rink (pictured below). In front of the building is a full on hockey store, selling the latest and greatest skates and twigs to hit the market. The rink is located in the back, and is fully equipped with NHL style boards and glass.
1. The Synthetic Ice arrives
Roughly 75 panels weighing 80 lbs each arrive on the work-site… The panels are 8′ x 4′ in size, with some other custom cut pieces. Ideally, having a forklift will save a lot of time during the unloading process. Luckily, we had several high school hockey players on site to help unload the heavy panels from the semi-truck to the rink site. It took a couple of hours to hand unload each panel one by one.
When you have the synthetic ice budding up to a wall or boards, there is quite a bit of strategy that goes into how it is laid out. It is important to allow for expansion and contraction of the synthetic ice surface during hot and cold temperatures. We prefer the boards to be installed first, which is what took place here. The boards are actually lifted slightly to allow the ice to slide underneath them.
2. Installation begins…
We decided to first put the crease together and then build around it. The crease has a few more parts, and does take a little bit more time than laying down the basic panel, but it sure looks awesome in the rink. The crease is then essentially a floating slab of many pieces that we have to move to a perfect center.
From here, we can build forward and really get going on the installation. It is important to start on a side wall and build it vertically before going side to side. We set everyone loose on pounding the 8′ x 4′ panels home. This application was beginning to take the form of an ice rink.
3. The Tricky Parts
After we had most of the rink completed, besides the far end and entire last row of panels on the right side, we ran into a few tricky parts. As you can imagine, with the boards in place, the custom dimensions need to be spot on. For the entire right side, we connected about 8 panels vertically (64′ x 4′). With a lot of man power and good timing we slid this one long piece under the board slot and into place on the right side.
Lastly, On each end where the boards circle, we had to do some custom cutting to create that authentic round about look. This is done with precision cutting, as there were no pieces to spare.
4. Finished project
The rink turned out to be an absolute beauty, and is a site that both KwikRink and The Hockey Headquarters are proud of. Many items have to fall into place to complete such a perfect installation. When installing synthetic ice, you are always “last on site”. By this I mean, if the previous work in the building is off (crooked walls/incorrect board dimensions), you have to be able to adjust. The naked eye wont notice a small misstep on the boards installation, but it can completely change your approach with the ice surface. We worked with top notch professionals on every level of the install, and the below picture shows the outcome.