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Some of us don’t have a rink nearby. Some of us live in warmer climates, where the only available ice time is at a booked ice rink. Even the cooler climates aren’t having the usual cold weather that supports outdoor ice. Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 rinks for all of its outdoor ice venues available. This past winter was awful for outdoor ice. More and more people are starting to look at an alternative solution to unlimited ice time. It is time to install a residential synthetic ice rink in your home and create an unparalleled home ice advantage for your hockey players.

Where? Indoor or outdoor? Basements, garages, and backyards are all plausible areas for home ice advantage. Many people get very creative in answering this question. I have had a client transform what was supposed to be a home movie theater into their own home ice advantage. I have seen a bedroom turned hockey rink, 3rd stall garage, and even an attic. The most important aspect is that the floor space is hard and flat (concrete or wood).

What size is enough for my hockey players to have fun and improve their skills? Ideally, you would shoot for a 2:1 ratio in length to width. Often times, this is not possible with available space indoors. Small kids can get a way with a 12′ x 8′ size rink, which fulfills our minimum order requirement. We recently installed two home rinks that came to roughly 18′ x 10′ dimensions. This is a solid size to use as a shooting lane, improve quickness, and hand skills. I have had clients add on to their garages and go quite big in size (50′ x 25′).

With skill development and fun in mind, a lot of our residential rinks share a common theme. You’ll often see a shooting tarp on one or both ends. Dasher boards on the side walls will protect the walls and bring authenticity to your home rink. We offer design ideas and installations. Every application is different and should be treated as such. Customization is essential when it comes to creating your own home ice advantage.

Throughout the years, the synthetic ice industry has evolved and grown quite substantially. Back in 1996, we were the first company to bring the product to the hockey market. At that time, there was not much to it besides a hard plastic that you can skate on. It certainly worked for skating, and people seemed to be in awe when seeing it for the first time, although it would not have been considered high performing. Fast forward to today, and the synthetic ice surface becomes a complex chemistry formula (at least for our company). This evolution has created a very realistic alternative surface for ice skating.

There are many misconceptions about the synthetic ice industry. As the experts in this space, I would like to touch on some of those.

The first of which is that, not all synthetic ice surfaces are created equally. The synthetic surfaces themselves may look the same, but it is really about what the synthetic has “under the hood.” If you are looking at a new Ferrari, one with an engine, and one without, which one is better? I am assuming you want to hit the Autobann with the engine equipped Ferrari!

The next big one I hear has to do with a technical term known as the “coefficient of friction” test. It sounds very scientific, and you could certainly be persuaded that this rating can tell you how awesome the synthetic surface is! Wrong. There is no scientific test that correlates to how it will perform on ice skates. The only way to find out what works best, is to use the ancient “guess and check” method with real skaters. Although, it is not so much guess, as it is the tweaking of a current formula. The key is to find the right balance of hardness and lubricant.

Some companies have switched over to a UHMW plastic, which is very expensive, but not necessarily better. The problem with these types of plastic is that they constantly bleed out lubricants (kids may be allergic), and will eventually become a dead cutting board with no lubricants left inside of the panel. There isn’t any off-the-shelf plastic that is good for ice skating. It must be created.

KwikRink uses our own proprietary formula when manufacturing our panels. Our goal is to provide a synthetic ice surface that skates the best in the world. We are hockey people, providing a high end product to other hockey people.

09
April

Hockey: A Way Of Life

Posted by KwikRink

From five in the morning practice as a kid to beer league or the pros as an adult, hockey has shaped everything from A to Z in our lives. The game has taught us to persevere through the inevitable obstacles that life throws at us on a daily basis. Speaking personally, I would not be where I am today without the greatest sport in the world on my resume. Hockey has given us even more off the ice than it did on.

Beginning in youth hockey, we form friendships that end up lasting a lifetime. Camaraderie is naturally created from the agony of a sudden death loss in the extra period. It is created from the glory of a championship victory in double overtime. Experiencing the ups and downs with teammates gets us ready for the roller-coaster ride of ups and downs in life.

Hockey has shaped our culture. As our career in the sport continued throughout the years, our language was changed for better, or for worse. We could probably write a new dictionary on hockey slang from our time around the rink. Often times we will see that the entire team has neglected a visit to the local barber, as our hair starts to flow every which way out of our helmets.

The game has given us priceless memories throughout the years. Memories were created with the best of friends and family, in locations spanning states/provinces, which will last a lifetime. Some of our fondest memories come from the time spent in a locker room full of the biggest beauties around.

Whether you are just starting youth hockey or have already hung them up for good, we can all agree that hockey has shaped our lives in some form. Once a hockey player, always a hockey player. Cheers to the greatest sport known to mankind. Cheers to hockey.

28
March

Small Area Games

Posted by KwikRink

Many of our clients buy rinks for their basement or garage, which are typically small areas and only have so much space available. Often times they worry whether the rink will offer enough space for their kids to practice skills and have fun with friends. The majority will quickly find that the KwikRink surface, regardless of size, has improved their kids skills in an immense way.

Practicing skills in small areas can be a blast for kids, simply because it doesn’t feel like practice. It’s like that vegetable you slip in their fruit smoothies that they can’t even taste, but they still receive the benefit from it being there. Kids have many options when it comes to small area games, and most just come naturally. Some examples of these games would be; 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3, keep away, or stick handling games a lot like what you see in the picture above with NHL superstar, Patrick Kane. All of these small area games are going to translate to a noticeably improved skill-set on game-day.

One of the main areas most kids will improve upon is their hands. When working with a smaller area, you must learn to handle the puck with quick hands protect the puck using your body and stick angles intelligently. Another vastly improved skill is quickness, both physically and mentally. In tight areas, players are required to process thought and act in a lightning quick manner.

“It’s very important to learn how to play in tight areas. We still do drills to this day that are tight area games where it’s 2-on-2, 3-on-3 down low, maybe 1-on-1 in the corners. They teach you how to battle and how to maneuver in tight space.”

– Patrick Kane on Small Area Games

 

 

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