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Outdoor synthetic ice rink

Perhaps you love to ice skate, or you are just a weekend hockey player. Maybe you used to play hockey but couldn’t fit getting down to the rink into your schedule.

Maybe your child wants to take up figure skating or ice hockey, and they need a place to practice. Do you have a secret love for curling, and are preparing for your Olympic debut? Or perhaps your child is already an accomplished skater and is trying to compete at a higher level.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to an ice rink close to your home and all-year-round?

That’s not an impossible dream anymore. With advances in technology, you can now install synthetic ice anywhere, indoors or out, in any weather climate. At KwikRink Synthetic Ice®, this is our business.

We can bring a fun, safe, and affordable year-round ice rink to your home, school, or business.

Here are seven reasons why synthetic ice is so cool.

1. You Can Install it Anywhere

Synthetic ice is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) an oil polymer that is slick, similar to ice, that gets extruded into sheets or panels with interlocking edges.

You can install it like puzzle pieces into existing areas and cut it to fit as needed. You can quickly turn your backyard, driveway, or basement into a small rink area to practice, install it over a larger amount of square footage for a half-size or even full-size rink.

2. It Doesn’t Melt

Made with high-density polyethylene, and not water, synthetic ice doesn’t need to stay frozen. You don’t have the excessive cooling costs associated with a traditional ice rink. It’s also self-lubricating, so it remains slippery.

You can keep your basement at average home temperature, and skate without an issue. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the heat of summer, you can get your ice skating practice done with a synthetic ice rink.

If you’re installing your synthetic ice outdoors, you’ll be pleased to know that it is UV coated to protect the surface from damage from the sun. It’s okay if your synthetic ice gets rained on; you’ll want to clean it of any debris before using.

Best of all, you don’t need a Zamboni to maintain it. Just a broom and a mop.

3. You Can Put It Down and Take It Up

synthetic ice tiles

Synthetic ice isn’t a permanent installation. Since it snaps together with edge-locking grooves, you can install it for a while and then pick it up if you need to use the space for another purpose.

Garages make perfect places for home-based synthetic ice rinks since they are large and flat. If you need to host a family reunion or use the space for another purpose, you can lift the synthetic ice panels and store them to use again later.

4. It’s Close to Real Ice But Gives You a Better Workout

High-quality synthetic ice such as KwikRink is made with silicone additives to decrease the friction and get as close in feel to actual ice. Synthetic ice isn’t as slick and frictionless as water-based ice, but it’s quite close, within about 10-15% of the friction of real ice.

That means you have to work a bit harder to propel yourself across the synthetic ice.

Much like trainers attach weights to swimmers’ legs and arms or have runners run through sand and snow, the extra friction of synthetic ice means that if you train on it, you’ll build up additional strength and speed. When you return to actual ice, you’ll be even faster and perform better, thanks to your synthetic ice training.

5. Customizable and Easy to Install

You can order the number of synthetic ice sheets you need to fit the space you are installing them. Synthetic ice comes in various sizes so you can customize it for your unique space. You don’t need to pay for extra materials, only the ones you use.

Since synthetic ice snaps together like puzzle pieces, you don’t need expensive installation equipment or tools to get your customized ice rink. All you need is a rubber mallet to tap the pieces together securely.

You can also order edge guards and add goalie creases, face-off dots, and lines as you prefer.  

6. Long-Lasting and Durable

Made stronger than Ice without the chill

Top quality synthetic ice like KwikRink will last up to 10 years with minimal maintenance. You can practice for countless hours and many years with a single investment. You can even travel with your synthetic ice panels. Load them up in your van and install them on site for an ice-skating party or vacation.

7. Puck and Stick Handling Practice

You don’t need a full-size rink to practice your shooting and stick handling. A 10’ x 10’ area is enough to practice critical skills to up your game. You can practice these skills in your tennis shoes and back yard, but then you’re building muscle memory without your skates, and the puck handling isn’t nearly the same.

When you practice on a synthetic ice installation, you get a very close approximation of how the puck moves across the ice. You can practice passing, cradling, dribbling, and shooting with realistic ice-feel and from the height of your skates, which makes for better transfer of practice skills to the actual rink situations.

Contact KwikRink to Install Synthetic Ice for your Location

Not all synthetic ice is made the same. Lesser quality synthetic ice has a lot more friction and your skates, nor the puck will glide properly. It can also dull your blades and even leave plastic shavings you have to clean up.

Cheaper synthetic ice will only last a few years and not provide the smooth slick ice feel you want. You want the synthetic ice you install to provide the quality, durability, and glide you need.

KwikRink Synthetic Ice is located in Maple Grove, MN, and we are proud to have installed synthetic ice rinks in many locations here at home. You can find KwikRink installations around the world in five continents.

We are a pioneer in developing synthetic ice, and we’ve been in the business since the mid-1990s. We are continually reinventing our product to make it even better, and we’ve just introduced our fifth generation product, which provides unsurpassed glide and reduced drag.

Give us a call at (888) 275-2345 or fill out our rink configuration form to get started. We stand by our product and have a customer satisfaction guarantee.

residential synthetic ice holiday sale

Expect big savings, as KwikRink is offering a synthetic ice holiday sale! This is currently active, and will continue to be active while supplies last. The biggest savings will be to our residential clients.

We still are the leader in custom synthetic ice rink applications, while offering all commercial accessories to complete your synthetic ice rink. Find out what type of savings to expect, why you should choose KwikRink, and how to get started creating  your own home ice advantage!

Synthetic Ice Holiday Sale

Currently, we are offering a $36 discount per panel on our 3/8″ thick surface, which is what the majority of residential synthetic ice applications use! This attributes to huge savings, and grows as the orders become bigger! We are also offering a $23 discount per panel on our heavy duty 1/2″ thick surface. Get a quote now!

Why KwikRink Synthetic Ice?

Not only are we the Pioneers of the industry – introducing synthetic ice to the hockey market over 20 years ago, but we also provide the best synthetic ice surfaces in the industry. We always strive to make ourselves available to answer questions, and take a very hands-on approach with our clients. There is nothing more that we want than a happy client!

Home Ice Advantage

Now is the time to create your own home ice advantage with KwikRink Synthetic Ice. Find ideas and inspiration for your new home synthetic ice rink by checking out our website gallery and Facebook page.

We have helped thousands of clients design their home synthetic ice rink applications from scratch. This includes all components, like: custom synthetic ice, markings, dasher boards, netting containment, shooting tarps, etc.

As rink design consultants, we make this process as simple and straight forward as possible. Nearly any space with a hard and flat surface can become your own “Home Ice Advantage!”

 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs Synthetic Ice by KwikRink

Can you skate on synthetic ice? Although synthetic ice has been around for decades, many people still do not know much about it. Below, we have posted answers to some of the most common synthetic ice questions that we frequently receive.

It can also be hard to find accurate information on the web, as most of it is posted by companies with an agenda. Since 1996, KwikRink Synthetic Ice has been selling premium skating surfaces and are considered the elite experts in the industry.

Can you skate on synthetic ice?

This is a question we get a lot…Can you skate on synthetic ice? Really, can you? Yes, you can, but not all synthetic ice tiles are created equally – Some will skate better than others. Many competing brands sell surfaces that we were selling in the 199o’s…That is old!

We currently manufacture our own synthetic ice formulas in the USA. KwikRink V panels are the best self-lubricating skating surface in the industry.

How long does synthetic ice last?

There are a lot of variables to consider when answering a question like this. Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on factors like; frequency of use, the intensity of use, number of users, the weight of users.

We sold and installed a KwikRink to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. We expect up to 10 years of lifespan with a team of professional hockey players using the surface intensely every day.

Most commercial training facilities and especially residential rinks can get a lot more life out of their synthetic ice. We have been in business for over 20 years, and have not seen a residential rink wear out.

The only exception is when the synthetic ice is used for goalie training. Goalies do put more wear into the synthetic ice tiles, as they stay mostly in one spot while training.

KwikRink V (3/8″) – 10+ years on average

KwikRink V (1/2″) – 15+ years on average

Will Synthetic Ice Ruin my Skates?

No, synthetic ice will not “ruin” your skates. Most of our clients will use their primary pair of ice skates when skating. Again, all synthetic ice tiles are not created equally. Some will dull your blades faster than others.

Some of the hardest surfaces will dull the blades very fast, so it is important to find a synthetic ice surface that has the proper hardness balance. While skating on KwikRink, you can expect your blades to dull at about the same rate as if you were skating on an outdoor pond on a cold day – a huge improvement over competing brands.

Can I do a Hockey Stop on Synthetic Ice?

Yes, hockey stops are possible on synthetic ice. All skating maneuvers on KwikRink V synthetic ice tiles, such as; backward skating, transitioning, and hockey stops, are 100% natural movements when compared to real ice.

What type of maintenance is required for my synthetic ice rink?

The simple rule of thumb for any synthetic ice rink – The cleaner it is, the faster it will skate. Dirt and debris create extra friction between the skate blade and synthetic ice tiles. Make sure to sweep and mop your rink, as needed. If outside, using a pressure washer works very well to clean rinks that show signs of neglect.

Can I wear shoes on synthetic ice?

Yes, you can wear shoes on synthetic ice. We always recommend keeping a clean pair of gym shoes to use when not wearing skates.

This will help keep the surface clean and performing at its best. The synthetic ice tiles are designed to be slippery to the skate blade but are not as slick on the shoe. That being said, you are purchasing the rink for ice skating, which is what its intended use is. Synthetic ice will not be an ideal surface for intense running and jump-cuts.

 

 

 

 

 

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What is the ideal size for synthetic ice panels? As the saying goes, “the bigger, the better” in most cases. “Bigger” panels certainly have the disadvantage of being less convenient than smaller panels when it comes to shipping and receiving.

From a purely functional standpoint, however, a bigger-sized panel tends to be a much better choice for your synthetic ice rink installation for several reasons.

At KwikRink Synthetic Ice, our default panel is a whopping 8′ x 4′ size, about the same size as a full sheet of plywood. Many other companies sell panels as small as 1.5′ x 1.5′!

These tiles are great for shipping, but the advantages stop there. If you’re looking for the most authentic ice skating experience, you’ll get it from installing larger panels of synthetic ice. 

Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why bigger synthetic ice tiles are the way to go.

1. Larger synthetic ice panels make for less seams in the surface.

While smaller panels are easier to move around, they also will have substantially more seams when the panels are connected. In our example above, comparing a KwikRink 4’x8’ panel with the 18” x 18” tiles, you would have approximately 11 seams from the smaller tiles inside one seamless KwikRink panel.

These seams simply leave a lot more opportunity for things to go wrong in a synthetic ice rink. Seams can bulge, lead to cracks, or catch dirt and debris. If a seam pops up, even very slightly, from variation in the floor surface or expansion due to temperature changes, you can catch the edge of your skate on the lip.

2. Larger synthetic ice panels provide more forgiveness when a substrate is flawed.

Most sub-floors are not perfect. The smaller the synthetic ice tiles are, the less “forgiveness” they provide in a flawed substrate. Aside from the extra seams, the smaller size leaves the panels much more likely to have seams that lip up. This protruding edge is a problem that can stop pucks and trip skaters.

It’s easier for a smaller panel to lift up or buckle, too. The weight of larger panels keeps them more stable and stationary. In short, larger size synthetic ice panels are able to cover up substrate flaws much better than smaller panels. 

You also need to think about the synthetic ice panels shrinking and swelling some due to temperature changes. When that occurs, seams, in particular, are vulnerable to cracking.

Some tiles snap together with a dovetail design, and cracks that break off one of the tabs means that you’ll need to replace a panel. Tongue-and-groove designs are also vulnerable to cracking from an uneven surface or fluctuating temperatures.

3. Larger synthetic ice panels allow for a quicker installation.

This one is a bit obvious, but having to connect fewer panels makes doing a synthetic ice installation much faster. These larger-sized panels will not be as easy to move around as the smaller ones, but connecting one KwikRink synthetic ice panel to another is comparable to connecting up to 16 smaller panels from a different supplier.

Fewer connections mean less time to install and less opportunity for error or breakage. At KwikRink, we can even create custom-sized panels for the odd edges and irregularities for your surface and dimensions.

4. Larger synthetic ice panels offer the best bang for your buck.

Bigger synthetic ice panels will provide the best value for your money. Most competing brands that offer smaller panels do so to improve shipping and convenience of mobility for the consumer.

Although these aren’t bad reasons, consumers are left with even less panel for their dollar due to the desire to cut overhead costs and meet various shipping restrictions. This is also why you often will see “Free Shipping” for the smaller panels. It is not really free, but built into the cost, as they are vastly overpriced for what is received. 

In contrast, larger synthetic ice tiles are thicker and more durable. Their weight is an asset when it comes to rink stability. Larger tiles aren’t going to bounce or flex from the weight of skaters upon them. The additional thickness means they will last.

Check the warranty any synthetic ice panels you’re considering, as well as they approximate years of useful life. Super synthetic ice in larger panels from KwikRink has a 10-year warranty. Other smaller tiles often have a 3-5 year lifespan and warranties for a fraction of that.

Larger panels install securely and stay put, which lowers your maintenance costs. Your ice rink will be the closest to real ice that it can be when you minimize seams, create a smooth surface, and replicate the weight and thickness of actual ice’s feel.

Don’t compromise on the function of a rink and pleasure of skating by installing smaller, thinner tiles. In the long run, whatever initial savings you may have celebrated will vanish with cleaning, repair, and replacement costs.

 

BONUS REASON TO USE LARGER SYNTHETIC ICE SHEETS

Puck glide. Skate glide. Performance. Durability. Cleaner, smoother surface. Okay, that was six reasons. The fewer seams a puck or a skate has to glide over, the lower the amount of friction and the better glide. Better glide means closer to the real thing: natural ice, which is seamless.

Bottom line: a synthetic rink will look, feel, perform, and last better if you use larger, more stable, better manufactured synthetic ice sheets. 

Let’s face it. When you spring for a synthetic ice rink, your goal is to get the feel of natural ice as much as possible. Especially if you are doing a regulation rink-size or more than 300 sq. ft. installation, you’ll be glad you opted for larger panels instead of hundreds of small tiles.

When it comes to synthetic ice panels, bigger is better. Contact our installers at KwikRink with the measurements of your rink space. We’ll help you lay down a rink quickly with as few total panels as possible.

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What is the best synthetic ice? Really…what is it? The market is flooded with options for synthetic ice. Its a tough world for consumers, as you are generally needing to make a costly investment in a surface before trying it out. The below points outline some of the things to look for in a synthetic ice product.

Glide

This is the starting point, as there are a lot of synthetic ice surfaces out there that put a black eye on the whole industry. There are still companies selling similar synthetic ice surfaces that we were selling in the mid 1990’s!

All of these will need a lubricant spray to achieve any glide. Many companies are currently selling “self-lubricating” surfaces. These are surfaces that achieve glide without any lubricant aids.

This is where it gets tricky…to what degree is the glide comparable to actual ice? Even within the “self-lubricating” category, there will be a vast array of how the glide performs. Synthetic ice is generally made with a resin and a “slip agent”.

The slip agent is what makes the synthetic ice glide. The biggest difference in glide among competing companies will be what specific slip agent is used, and how much of it is used.

Cheaper synthetic ice brands tend to use less effective slip agents, or use it at a much lower percentage than the best synthetic ice surfaces. The glide will be much stickier, and may even require a lubricant spray to achieve its true desired effect (many cheap brands won’t tell you that ahead of time).

Generally speaking, with an increase in the proper slip agent, comes an increase in the glide (resin dependent). This also will cause an increase in price, as it is more costly to manufacture. The best synthetic ice has a glide in excess of 90% when compared to real ice.

Hardness Balance

The hardness of the synthetic ice surface is imperative for durability and a natural feel. Many cheap surfaces are much too soft or too hard. These products tend to use a cheaper resin, which softens the surface.

Or they use little-to-no slip agent, which hardens the surface (slip agents tend to soften synthetic ice). Durability or performance for these synthetic ice surfaces will be dramatically affected in a negative manner.

Skating on soft surfaces feels similar to real ice that is too soft. You will dig into the ice and feel like you are skating on a train track. This also adds friction and slows down the glide.

On the other hand, surfaces can be much too hard and dull the blades very fast. These tend to be seen in older surfaces, and surfaces with no slip agent added to the resin. We often refer to these synthetic ice surfaces as, “dead cutting boards”.

Achieving the right balance of hardness in synthetic ice leads to natural ice-like skating surfaces, that are not too hard or too soft on the blades. The best synthetic ice has the perfect hardness balance.

Seamless Connection

There are two main ways that synthetic ice panels are connected. These two methods are known as the “tongue and groove” and “dovetail” connections.

The tongue and groove connection came first. In fact, this is how we connected our panels back in the late ’90’s. This connection is a lot more work for the end user and makes it very difficult to install and take apart.

This connection can also pose problems in larger spaces, as panels like to pull away from one another and don’t want to connect.

The dovetail connection is what we currently are using. This connection allows for fast and easy installation/tear down. The key to the KwikRink Lock-Rink Dovetail assembly is that the male and female joints have a slight overbite for a snug fit.

With proper subflooring, this connection is seamless and will not trip skaters or stop pucks. The best synthetic ice surfaces are seamless!

Best Synthetic Ice

  1. The best synthetic ice surfaces have glide in excess of 90%  when compared to real ice
  2. The best synthetic ice surfaces have a natural ice-like feel – not too hard or soft
  3. The best synthetic ice surfaces have a seamless connection

Searching for the best synthetic ice in today’s market can leave the average consumer with a headache. At KwikRink Synthetic Ice, we invest heavily in R&D, and have been manufacturing our own surfaces for 20 years. It would be much easier for us to purchase pre-made synthetic ice surfaces like most of our competitors, and resell them under our own name. Manufacturing our own synthetic ice allows us to make the best synthetic ice!

 

 

 

 

types of synthetic ice underlays

Is an underlay for my new synthetic ice rink necessary? Well, this depends on a lot of variables. It is very important that the synthetic ice panels be laid on top of a hard and flat surface. In this article, we will dive into three categories that all sub-floors fall into when it comes to the necessity of having a synthetic ice underlay; no underlay, simple underlay, and advanced underlay.

No Synthetic Ice Underlay

When no underlay is needed for a synthetic ice rink, it tends to be in an inside space with a very flat and hard sub-floor. We also see this outside on sport courts that were done correctly by the contractor. These are any floors with no flaws.

  • Indoor rooms/basements
  • Sport courts
  • Tennis courts
  • Leveled decks

Simple Synthetic Ice Underlay

A “simple underlay” is needed when the sub-floor has some flaws, but is mostly hard and flat. Undulation in the sub-floor is the biggest reason for a simple underlay – most of these surfaces are still hard (concrete,asphalt, wood, etc.). This can require something as simple as using 3/4″ OSB tongue and groove plywood. The plywood is very flat, and will provide extra forgiveness in a flawed sub-floor. Rubber matting can also be used as an underlay for your synthetic ice panels in these type of scenarios.

    • driveways
    • parking lots
    • streets
    • on pavers

Advanced Synthetic Ice Underlay

An advanced synthetic ice underlay is necessary when hardness of the sub-floor is not up to par and/or the sub-floor is very un-level. These tend to be a little more work, as these have the worst sub-floors to place synthetic ice panels on. The best ways to remedy this is to pour a concrete slab (like a sport court) or build a raised wooden deck. The deck platform does not have to be very high off of the ground, but does need to be made level.

  • grassy areas
  • some parking lots
  • turf
  • carpet

Synthetic ice rinks are possible anywhere with the right sub-floor. It is important to assess to which degree a synthetic ice underlay is necessary for optimal performance of the skating surface. Often times, no underlay is needed at all. Don’t fall for these added costs from other suppliers…We will help you determine the best underlay treatment for your synthetic ice rink!

 

 

Synthetic Ice Rent with Option to Buy Program

At KwikRink, we understand that any transaction for a synthetic ice application is quite the investment and should not be taken lightly. This is why we offer our clients the “Synthetic Ice Rent with Option to Buy Program”. This program entails all brand new materials shipped to the end user on a monthly rental program. When that time has completed, the synthetic ice can be returned or purchased at the remaining balance of the cost to own.

Our program offers turnkey solutions for communities and businesses interested in a synthetic ice skating rink. The rental period acts as a trial, so there is no long-term commitment that needs to be made upfront.

Who/What does this Synthetic Ice Rental Program benefit?

  • Holiday celebrations
  • Annual festivals
  • City parks
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Shopping centers
  • Company parties
  • Private celebrations

The “Synthetic Ice Rent with Option to Buy Program” offers a unique experience for attendees and at an affordable price for the individual/company/community that is holding the event. When you compare the cost to support real ice, synthetic ice rentals are a fraction of the cost – no electricity or water needed. These synthetic ice rinks can hold up in any climate, which often brings an awe factor in any location where outdoor ice is unsustainable.

What does this Synthetic Ice Rental Program offer?

  • Custom-sized synthetic ice rink tailored to your needs
  • Decorative fencing
  • Rental skates
  • Skate sharpeners
  • Rubber matting
  • On-site supervision and installation

KwikRink is your one-stop-shop for all items needed to make your event a success. All materials are quoted in an itemized fashion, as you may pick and choose what products are needed for your specific application.

We will work with you before, during, and after the initial process to ensure the rental period and potential purchase are a big success. These types of applications have drawn rave reviews from our past clients. The most important aspect when it comes to setting up events with synthetic ice applications is to bring people together for a fun time!

Get started with a quote today!

 

 

Residential synthetic ice rink with obstacles

Are support beams or other obstacles stopping you from adding synthetic ice to your home or commercial space? it shouldn’t! We work with several clients that are hesitant to add synthetic ice due to support beams, “jut-outs”, or odd shaped exterior dimensions, in their potential space. At KwikRink, we have the capabilities to custom cut your synthetic ice rink to exact specifications. As a wise man once said, there is always a way! Often times, we find that these obstacles work as training aids, creating better hands and agility.

Support Beams

With proper on-site dimensions, we can have our expert programmers devise a CAD tailored to your space. When working with support beams, it helps to work off of two adjacent walls to nail down exactly where the support pole(s) line up. The goal is to always have the supports lineup on the seam of the synthetic ice panels. This allows the client to make a nice and neat cut around the support pole, without wasting excess material.

Spaces with “jut-outs”

In any scenario where a room has portions that “jut-out”, have no fear, as there are easy ways to work around these obstacles, as well. Any small obstacle like this is best dealt with on-site for the tidiest cut possible. If necessary, we will also line this up on a seam of two connecting panels, but often times we do not need to do this. We recommend using a skilsaw with a 24 tooth blade for cutting around the obstacle. The synthetic ice will cut like butter – no problem!

Odd Shaped Rooms (Exterior)

This has been discussed in other blog posts, and you can click here for more information. When filling a hard room in wall-to-wall, it is quite rare to find that some amount of customization is not needed. Our machines are very precise and can save you a lot of money in a custom space. We can send you your rink with precision cuts to the exact specifications of your room. All you will need to do is simply connect the panels, like a giant puzzle! Most home synthetic ice rinks can be installed in 20-30 minutes depending upon the amount of on-site cutting involved.

Don’t let on-site obstacles stop you from your dream synthetic ice space. These types of obstacles are common, and can potentially be seen as a plus rather than a negative!

 

 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs Synthetic Ice by KwikRink

Attempts to imitate the glorious gliding of a frozen ice rink have been around for a long time.

In June 1844, the Glaciarium opened in London, after a couple of smaller rinks concocted by inventor Henry Kirk convinced investors a bigger venture was commercially viable.

It wasn’t, as the public never quite adjusted to the smell of the “ice” — a mixture of salts, sulfate of copper, and lard — and the Glaciarium closed within the year. Luckily, artificial ice has come a long way since those early beginnings, and you no longer need to wear a mask over your nose to enjoy a skate.

The first true synthetic ice surfaces — formed from a plastic known as polyoxymethylene — arrived in the 1960s. But, with rough, draggy surfaces that required skates to be re-sharpened in less time than it takes to play an NHL period, they were slow to catch on.

You also couldn’t skate across the plastic polymer without applying silicone on top. As you might expect, the oily compound on top of the surface was a magnet for dirt and grime. 

The origins of modern synthetic ice aren’t pretty, but they paved the way for today’s self-lubricating and non-smelly product that reproduces roughly 90% of natural ice feel.

Things are different now.

There are a variety of products on the market, some claiming a coefficient of friction roughly the same as real ice, while others claim no reliable scientific comparison exists. But inarguably, synthetic ice is gaining wider acceptance as a tool for NHL players — as well as amateur skaters of every stripe — to augment their time on a frozen pond.

Many NHL clubs, as well as semi-pro and amateur leagues, use synthetic ice rinks for practice these days while regulation games are still played on natural ice, that used to be the case for grass football fields as well. 

Time was that only natural grass was used in professional games and stadiums, or championships like the Super Bowl. Then, artificial turf got better and better, coming closer to the performance of real grass and outperforming it in others. Now, 32 NFL teams play their games on artificial turf. 

NHL hockey may not be far behind as synthetic ice continues to advance in glide, performance, and durability. A top-of-the-line KwikRink Synthetic Ice ® rink installation is much less expensive than installing and maintaining a natural ice rink.

The cooling costs to keep the rink at the proper temperature and humidity are very high for a natural ice installation, leading more clubs to use synthetic ice as much as they can. In the NHL now, synthetic ice is a reality.

Puck-Friendly Playability

Unlike most rink alternatives, synthetic ice allows the use of a real puck. Thus, many around the NHL have embraced such surfaces as an economical way to extend opportunities to shoot and handle the puck.

Heading into the 2017-18 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs installed a synthetic pad at their training center — a shooting range next to their main rink displayed as a 60-foot zone from the blue line (pictured above).

Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, who this year became the youngest Lightning player ever to score 100 points in a season, works on his shot on a synthetic pad in his two-car garage — 20 minutes per session, twice a day during the offseason.

Many other current and former NHL players have installed synthetic ice for personal use as well. Garages, basements, driveways, and decks can all become practice rinks to keep specific key skills up to par, and it’s not just for the pros.

Training’s Friendly Faux

Most of us, when we can’t afford or access ice time, have limited training options: a slide board, roller blades, maybe a nice tile floor and a portable net. But there’s no real puck, no ice skates,  and no opportunity to work on many of the skills you’ll need on the ice.

When you train, you build muscle memory, so you want your muscles to learn the way the skill feels under the conditions you will use it. Practicing shooting in your tennis shoes or even on roller blades isn’t the same as putting on your skates and working with the glide and friction of ice.

Synthetic ice affords the opportunity to practice shooting, stick-handling and skating on a surface that closely mimics a real rink. Some of the training benefits of synthetic ice include:

  1. It’s easier than ice. With synthetic ice, there’s no refrigeration and no climate control necessary to maintain a surface that can be installed in virtually any indoor setting from a basement to a garage to a warehouse. And a vacuum is a lot cheaper than a Zamboni.
  2. It’s harder than ice. You see runners doing sprint training harnessed to parachutes. Baseball players swing weighted bats. Pro hockey players know one of the great benefits to synthetic ice workouts is that the material isn’t quite as smooth as the real thing — it takes more effort to get where you want to go. It’s a subtle boost to your workout that will make you feel that much faster when you hit the ice.
  3. It’s cheaper than ice. Especially in warm-weather months and climates, real ice is hard to find, and time on it can get expensive. Synthetic ice is one way to clear the cost and availability hurdles, and can even be installed on a smooth outdoor surface.

Melting Apprehension

You won’t have to worry about rising temperatures, melting ice, or unsafe surfaces when you use synthetic. You also don’t have uneven spots or dips from different temperature levels.

When it comes to skating surfaces, it might not be ice — but synthetic products are still pretty cool. At least, that’s the take the Florida Panthers came away with when hosting the first hockey clinic in Barbados during the summer of 2017.

On a 60-foot-by-35-foot synthetic surface, locals showed some impressive skills.

“It’s a little bit different skating on,” defenseman Alex Petrovic said. “But some of the kids that come here regularly are actually really good at skating on it.”

Pay attention to the kind of synthetic ice you plan to install. There are varying levels of quality, durability, and glide. Thinner panels are less expensive, but wear out much more quickly. Inferior polymers lead to higher friction and resistance and less ice-like feel. Smaller tiles instead of larger panels lead to additional seams that can trap dirt.

KwikRink has helped install synthetic ice rinks for NHL teams and players for years. We’ve also helped private citizens convert a garage into a practice rink and communities that have never had access to ice skating learn the fun and sport. 

With synthetic ice from KwikRink, more people around the globe can become skaters. Maybe the next Stanley Cup MVP will be from Barbados, and he learned to skate on synthetic ice.

Which is really the point, isn’t it? Synthetic ice can help create better skaters — and shooters, and stick-handlers — anywhere by reproducing the playability characteristics of ice at a fraction of the cost.

 

Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey store that offers pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet.

Synthetic Ice Layout

Synthetic ice layouts are extremely important, as each client has different needs. We will touch on “panel loss” vs exact customization in this article post. Regardless if you digest the below information or not, KwikRink Synthetic Ice is here to determine the best route for the client with their goals and budget in mind.

KwikRink’s standard synthetic ice sheet has exterior dimensions of 95″ x 48″ (#1 cut), typically yielding 94″ x 47″. This is by design, so that the panels can be connected every which way. Because they are so close to 8′ x 4′, we go by these increments for simplicity, and many of the quote inquiries we get, also follow this guideline. The dovetail pattern is 1″ deep, and when connected, this causes the loss of 1″ every 4′ of connection. This is called “Panel Loss” or “PL” for short. If i am losing you here, it will be simplified below…

Examples using all #1 cuts:

40′ x 20′ PL = 39’3″ x 19’8″ (25 Panels)

32′ x 16′ PL = 31’5″ x 15’9″ (16 Panels)

24′ x 12′ PL = 23’7 x 11’10” (9 Panels)

Why #1 cuts? 

Using the default cut panels is the best bang for your buck when it comes to choosing a synthetic ice rink layout. You will have no charges for custom cutting, no excess scrap, and be able to rotate all panels in your synthetic ice rink to expand the lifespan. Anything that is custom cut is often locked into that specific spot on the rink. #1 cuts can be used for synthetic ice rinks that do not need to fill in an exact space (think wall to wall – inside). Outdoor rinks and open areas work the best.

When is Custom cutting is needed?

For commercial or residential synthetic ice rinks that need EXACT dimensions, often times custom cutting is required, as the #1 cuts natural dimensions will not get you there. KwikRink specializes in custom cut synthetic ice solutions. It is also necessary with custom markings (lines, creases, circles, dots, etc).

When we say Exact, what do we mean?

We truly mean exact. If your space is 24’6 1/2″ x 15’3 1/4″, KwikRink can do it with world-class precision machining. Often times, residential basements that are interested in adding synthetic ice for home training have pole supports to work around in the area. We can design a layout with custom cut panels, so that the seams of a panel line up at the pole. This allows for the easiest cut around the pole.

In conclusion…

When it is not necessary to have exact dimensions, “panel loss” is the way to go. This will get you to 8′ x 4′ multiples minus a few inches each way, depending upon how big the rink is. Exact is they way to go when…well you need exact dimensions to fit into a hard space. Get your quote today!

 

The temperature was hovering in the teens all day, but it could have been much worse on a late January day in Minnesota. The installation took place on January 28th and was completed in approximately 12 hours. This is one of the most complex jobs that we have done and certainly is one to be proud of.

Ice Rink

The synthetic ice surface was to be cut around the Medtronic “Horn” sculpture. This is not your standard synthetic ice rink installation. When dealing with a very abstract project like this, it is important to be able to ad-lib as you go. There is no blueprint for this type of installation.

Ice Rink

The flooring/substrate around the sculpture was very unlevel with a lot of undulation. This can pose problems for the seams on any synthetic ice surface. We were forced to individually shim each panel as it was laid down. If this rink were to be permanently placed here, an underlay substrate may have been necessary.                                                                                                                          
Ice Rink

Once the installation got towards the arms of the Medtronic Sculpture, the project slowed down a bit. It was important to make precise cuts around these arms. Skaters will be skating through this sculpture during pregame Super Bowl LII festivities – open to ticket-holders only.

Ice Rink

As we close in on our 11th straight hour on the job, we see the end in sight. Day turns to night, and the Medtronic Sculpture lights up creating a beautiful visual of the rink right in front of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Ice Rink

A clean look at the finished synthetic ice installation. This is game-day ready as soon as the perimeter fencing is installed. Freestyle skaters and figure skaters will be providing some eye candy for those walking into the big game!

 

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Contacts: Don Mason: 612-483-3020; Brett Mason: 612-387-1288

Synthetic Ice Rink At U.S. Bank Stadium For Super Bowl
Minnesota-Based Company Constructing Skating Rink on Plaza at U.S. Bank Stadium

What Is Synthetic Ice:
The KwikRink Synthetic Ice provides skaters about 95% of the speed of a natural ice surface. It can be installed virtually anywhere, in any climate and temperature.

When Is The Rink Being Constructed:
Installation will take place on Sunday, January 28 starting at 8 a.m.

Where Is The Synthetic Ice Rink Being Constructed:
At U.S. Bank Stadium at the Medtronic Plaza, right outside of the Legacy gates. The rink will be intertwined with the Medtronic “horn” sculpture.

Why Is The Rink Being Constructed:
Minnesota is proud of it’s skating heritage, with more than 200 indoor ice facilities and thousands of natural ice rinks at parks and frozen ponds that are used all winter for ice sports. The KwikRink Synthetic Ice will capture the spirit of this history and feature skaters on the surface only for ticket holders to enjoy, only on February 4 from noon until game time.

Who Is KwikRink:
KwikRink is a Maple Grove, Minnesota-based company founded, owned and operated by Don Mason. KwikRink synthetic ice surfaces can be found around the world in private homes of athletes and celebrities, training facilities, ice shows, five-star resorts, garages, backyards and even on the beach! For more information, pictures, and videos, log on to www.kwikrinksyntheticice.com.

Ice Rink

In Vadnais Heights (MN), you can find a brand new hockey school called Gentry Academy. The beautiful building that houses this school just completed in March. The Gentry Academy Galaxy are a sanctioned Tier 1 hockey program.

The training area is in the basement and will have a fully equipped surrounding workout area. The synthetic ice portion covers a roughly 35′ x 30′ area using KwikRink V synthetic ice. There is one NHL goal crease in the surface to accommodate goalie training.

The area will be available for students to practice for fun during downtime. There will also be formal training sessions with experienced instructors to supplement on-ice training. Gentry Academy has it all!

 

SYNTHETIC ICE

KwikRink V is ferociously changing how people view synthetic ice as an alternative training tool to ice. The surface has only been officially released for 2 months, but several panels have made their way into residential homes of hockey moms and dads, as well as some current and former NHL players and teams (more to come on this).

This new surface is hitting the highest performance levels in the industry, and is considered to be 95% the speed of real ice. The breakthrough in this surface compared to other fully lubricated panels is that the “slip agent” does not migrate out. It is dry and not injected. Some competitor brands will skate great until its injected oils run dry, making the surface skate similar to synthetic ice that was sold in the mid 90’s. Our products are manufactured in the USA with our dedicated team of chemists, which allows us greater attention to detail. The majority of what you find on today’s market is bought from China and resold.

This new state-of-the-art surface is as close to ice as you can find on today’s market.

“KwikRink V is easy to install and maintain. It feels as close to ice as any alternative I’ve skated on. Transitions and stops are close to the real thing, thus great for edge technique, stick handling with movement as well as shooting.   My whole family uses the sheet – I love this stuff.”

– Nick W, MN

“KwikRink Gen 5 surface skates like real ice and the puck slides around as if it where on real ice. My son is a goalie, and does a little goalie work on it , but he usually skates and shoots on it , and he can do everything from skating backwards to hockey stops.”

– Scott S, IL

As a manufacturer in an industry that only has a handful, we are proud to say that our products are unique from all other brands on the market. No other company sells the same surfaces that we do.

 

 

SYNTHETIC ICE Rink

KwikRink has officially released its 5th generation formula. We call our latest formula, KwikRink V (KwikRink 5). This new formula has a dry slip agent throughout the panel, and requires no topical sprays or liquids. KwikRink V will change the perceptions of current industry limitations. The most common consumer complaints in the industry have to do with; surface glide, backwards skating and transitioning, and oily panels.

Surface Glide

One of the most common complaints about synthetic ice is that it doesn’t glide anything like real ice. You can YouTube countless videos of people skating on “synthetic ice”, but it looks more like they are walking with skates on. KwikRink V has a surface glide of up to 50 plus feet with just one stride. Check out the video here.

Backwards Skating and Transitioning

The next most common issue regarding synthetic ice has to do with backwards skating and transitioning. These skills have had a very unnatural feel across the industry, and are entirely impossible on some of the surfaces out there – until now. Again, if you aren’t buying it – check out the video here. KwikRink V is the closest synthetic surface to ice, made to date.

Oily Panels

There are other fully/self lubricated panels on today’s market. These panels do not require any type of topical spray. The problem with the majority of these panels is that the slip agent will migrate out over time, rendering the surface a dead cutting board within a few years. This leaves you with an oily surface that eventually turns into a useless piece of plastic. KwikRink V’s slip agent is completely dry and will not migrate outside of the panel.

KwikRink is proud to be one of the few manufacturers of synthetic ice in the entire world. This allows us infinite quality control over our surfaces. Many companies selling synthetic ice purchase cheaply made plastic from China for resale. We brought this product to the hockey market over 20 years ago. We know hockey. We know synthetic ice. The best comes from the pioneers of the industry.

Synthetic Ice

Synthetic ice from KwikRink is becoming an increasingly popular tool to supplement off-ice training in youth hockey associations. Many associations struggle to find adequate ice time in their local community to support youth hockey development. Both traditional and non traditional hockey areas are finding it increasingly difficult to supply the growing demand for ice time. This makes ice time very expensive, and also makes youth teams practice very late at night, or very early in the morning. In many areas, hockey moms and dads have to drive countless miles just to get their child to the ice rink. Many of these hockey associations are turning to KwikRink commercial synthetic ice to help remedy this problem.

Woodbury Area Hockey Club (WAHC) is a youth hockey association located in the eastern part of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Woodbury has a large hockey association and only so many rinks to go around. They recently purchased the rights to Harding Ice Arena in St. Paul, MN. Harding was an arena that was no longer in use, and WAHC saw this as an opportunity to create ice time that was so desperately needed. Woodbury wanted to use as much of the building as possible for training, not just the one sheet of ice that the building already has. In a spacious 70′ x 30′ area upstairs next to the ice sheet, WAHC installed a beautiful training area consisting of; 4 shooting lanes, 1 goalie training lane, and 2 stick handling zones. (pictured above). KwikRink works closely with the purchaser to help design the optimal layouts for an alloted space.

Supplementing KwikRink synthetic ice is an inexpensive and convenient way to create more ice time for youth hockey players. The sport of hockey has been growing every single year. We have seen 100,000 more members to USA hockey in the past 10 years alone. Demand for ice time will continue to increase, and the current construction of ice rinks is unable to adequately supply what is needed. Supplement with KwikRink synthetic ice surfaces and #DontSuckAtHockey!

 

 

07
October

Winter Wonderland Rinks

Posted by KwikRink
Winter Wonderland Rinks

The holiday season is just around the corner, and people across the world are gearing up for some special times spent with family and friends. Many of us in colder climates associate these times with snow and ice skating. As climates change, supporting outdoor ice even in these colder climates has been a challenge, to say the least. We have worked with several communities and event planning companies across the world to bring holiday themed pleasure skating rinks for the locals to enjoy. KwikRink synthetic ice does not need cold weather to support its magic, which makes it a hit in warm climates and assures stable skating conditions in colder climates that have had unreliable weather to support good ice.

KwikRink Lock-Rink dovetail pattern allows the panels to be installed and torn apart very easily – like a puzzle. The high performing synthetic ice is a fraction of the cost of refrigerating real ice. It also is much lower maintenance compared to manufacturing real ice with an expensive refrigerated system. These convenient qualities make KwikRink the perfect surface for such events.

Some of the coolest seasonal rinks are done in the most nontraditional climates. Imagine ice skating outside in Bermuda with someone special. The Planning Factory – Bermuda has worked with us to make this a reality. This rink is currently being added onto – pictures to come soon! Pleasure rinks are simply about bringing people together! See below pictures for more seasonal rinks!

Winter Wonderland – Rockford, IL

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This Winter Wonderland pleasure skating rink shows the versatility of KwikRink synthetic ice panels. President, Don Mason, designed this layout himself.

Target Corporate Headquarters – Minneapolis, MN 

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Target setup synthetic ice for employees to blow off some steam during the winter months, and hosted a corporate holiday party with the skating rink as the main attraction, surrounded by the Minneapolis skyline!

Oakville Winter Wonderland – Ontario, Canada

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The city of Oakville put on a fun holiday event to bring the local community together…Rental skates on site. Happy Holidays!

Pleasure Rink – Izmir, Turkey

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A pleasure rink setup with rental skates for all to have a good time. Turkey does not have the type of climate that you would expect to offer outdoor skating. What a cool novelty in a nontraditional location!

People are intrigued by novel ideas. With the ability to build rinks anywhere, seasonal rinks with KwikRink are a hit! This is due to its versatility, convenience, and affordable cost. Bringing people together is the inevitable byproduct that KwikRink synthetic ice offers. Endless possibilities and themes allow for some of the most unique skating applications anywhere on the planet.

13
September

Goalie Training on KwikRink

Posted by KwikRink
Goalie Training on KwikRink

KwikRink synthetic ice has been an extremely popular tool for goalie training at all levels. Professional and amateur goaltenders regularly use KwikRink to supplement their on ice training. The surface allows goalies to practice slides, and all the skills that they would on real ice at a fraction of the cost. Many goaltenders will install KwikRink synthetic ice in their own home to create an unparalleled home ice advantage when it comes to training.

KwikRink is featured in many goalie training camps around the country. MEGA Goaltending, a Minnesota based goalie training camp, has used KwikRink as part of their training regimen for several years. MEGA consists of highly experienced staff members working with a small group of goalies to offer a truly in depth goalie training experience. A synthetic ice area with two creases was recently installed at Elk River Ice Arena to add to their arsenal of training tools.

“KwikRink has become a proven and invaluable surface for us to use when working with our goaltenders. We have found KwikRink to be the ideal surface for us to train our goalies on save techniques and receive a ton of repetitions. It also allows us to keep the costs down for families, in comparison to the cost of training on ice. We have trained over a thousand goalies on KwikRink synthetic ice, and the results have been fantastic.”

– Justin Johnson, Founder of MEGA Goaltending and Minnesota Golden Gophers Men’s Goalie Coach

The first synthetic ice crease was created by KwikRink in the late 90’s. Many residential clients will install their own goalie school inside their homes. The ideal setup has a permanent inset goalie crease, providing positional guidance, and has the depth and width to work on shots at all angles. An ideal goalie area would be something like 16 feet wide by 24 feet long. This would allow the goalie to work on common angles, as well as, taking screened shots. Many of these clients do not have this kinda of space in their home to dedicate to hockey training. You can still get a lot out of a goalie area with limited space. The minimum area would be 10-12 feet wide by about 16 feet long. This would still provide room to practice slides, and work at head on shots. When it comes to training, nothing compares to getting in your skates and doing the work.

 

KwikRink will soon be releasing its 5th generation product that has been in the works for years. It will be known as “KwikRink V”, with the V standing for Roman numeral five. Several years of work with KwikRink’s team of top-notch chemists has finally paid off, as the synthetic ice industry has not seen a product like “V”. The first shipment of test panels brought both good and bad news. The panels had broken its packaging and were in disarray all over the truck. The good news was that they were that way because the surface was so slippery. We had to develop a new way to hold the panels together for shipping, but we knew we were on to something right away.

“KwikRink V” is a fully lubricated surface that requires no topical sprays whatsoever. The slip agent will not ooze out of the surface and run dry in a few years like many of the “self-lubricating” panels sold on today’s market. The speed and performance will be unmatched in the industry. One of the biggest differences you will notice on the KwikRink V is in backwards skating and transitioning. Because of other synthetic ice surfaces resistance, you will often notice a big difference from real ice to synthetic ice when it comes to transitioning. You will slow down as you transition, and backwards skating does not feel as natural. On “KwikRink V”, this drag or resistance is dramatically decreased.

The new “KwikRink V” surface is set to revolutionize the synthetic ice industry by changing the perceptions of the products limitations. Boasting performance and speeds as close as you can get to real ice, “KwikRink V” is sure to help everyone not suck at hockey!

28
June

KwikRink by the Numbers

Posted by KwikRink

1996 – The year KwikRink brought synthetic ice to the hockey market. KwikRink boasts the “Pioneer” tag of the industry.

90 – Percentage that correlates to the speed of KwikRink 4th Generation surface compared to real ice. This slight resistance makes this synthetic ice a perfect training tool.

20 – The number of years attending the Let’s Play Hockey Expo as a vendor. (St. Paul, MN)

1 – KwikRink started out as a one man business (Don Mason) for a number of years, but has grown since.

30 – average time in minutes it takes to install a rink using KwikRink’s proprietary Lock-Rink assembly, which assures a virtually seamless surface.

6500 – Square footage of KwikRink’s 4th Generation synthetic ice in the Hockey Sports Academy training center in Clinton Township, Michigan. The layout was designed by President, Don Mason.

18 – Years since the first permanent synthetic ice goalie crease was started as a garage project in Minnesota!