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.

installprogressions

 

 

Back in 1996, KwikRink was the first company to bring synthetic ice to the hockey market. Now in 2016, the industry is saturated with several companies trying to claim a portion of this thriving market. There are really only a handful of companies out there that pay enough attention to detail to deserve your attention as a consumer.

Purchasing synthetic ice is an investment. Like buying a car, you should put in the time and effort to make sure you are spending that hard-earned paycheck wisely. It is important that it delivers the results you are looking for. Many companies today offer a click and buy approach. Synthetic Ice is not meant to be a click and buy the product. Would you buy a vehicle online without talking to a dealer? I am guessing no. there is too many details to cover to not talk to a live person. When you call KwikRink, you will get Don (President) or Brett (Operations Executive) on the phone. No salespeople.

At KwikRink, we prefer to speak with you on the phone about your application. We have 20 years of experience designing both residential synthetic ice applications and commercial synthetic ice applications. Using the dimensions of the area, we can design the blueprint for an ideal use of the space with the potential clients criteria in mind. We can install the application for these clients, or offer on-site supervision. many of our residential clients will have their home builder install the rink, in which case, we work directly with the builder to make sure the job is done correctly. In commercial applications, a lot of the same variables hold true. Most commercial applications or training centers share a common goal. That common goal is to have a very high return on investment. If you have ever seen a home remodeling show, it does matter where all the parts fall. Our specialty is making sure that they fall in the right place.

KwikRink offers more than just a product to its consumers. We offer education and design as the expert consultants of the industry. Available areas vary widely when it comes to synthetic ice applications. The most important element is the utilization of the available area in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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.

Maple Grove Highschool Hockey Team

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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