How Is Hockey on Plastic Ice Different From Real Ice?
Posted by Brett
With so many recent innovations in synthetic ice technology, it’s natural to wonder how it feels to skate on “plastic ice.” There are many advantages to equipping your home or business with synthetic ice. With leading-edge materials and manufacturing, the skating “feel” of plastic ice has come a long way.
Though plastic ice won’t match the natural ice feel perfectly, synthetic ice offers many advantages that you cannot find skating on a sheet of frozen water.
We’ve assembled several useful tips for seamless transitions between skating on plastic and natural ice. Find out the advantages of getting customized plastic ice tiles for your home or commercial application. In doing so, you can supplement your natural ice skating experience to your benefit.
KwikRink Synthetic Ice is the leader in customized home and commercial synthetic ice rinks. Visit our website today for a free rink quote so you can skate year-round, any time you want.
What Is Plastic Ice?
Synthetic ice is a sheet or sheets of polyethylene plastic. This plastic is cut or molded to standard or custom tile sizes, with a variety of edges for assembly.
Some tiles (like the ones KwikRink Synthetic Ice offers) have a “puzzle piece” assembly system. This system taps interlocking tiles in place with no additional tools. Other ice tile models feature dovetail, tongue-and-groove, or flush edges to join the tiles.
Since the 1960’s synthetic ice tiles have increased in popularity, due to innovations in plastics technology, like self-lubricating panels. KwikRink Synthetic Ice tiles are all self-lubricating.
By staying on top of the latest developments in synthetic ice technology, KwikRink provides the smoothest, fastest skating experience in a synthetic ice rink. These self-lubricating panels also lead to lower maintenance — there’s no need to periodically add topical lubricants to it.
Think of how hockey skates work on natural ice (gliding, turning, quick stops). You can see why such a feature as self-lubricating panels would be an easy choice for replicating a natural ice feel.
But How Does Plastic Ice Feel When I Skate on It?
In the highest quality plastic ice rinks, synthetic ice retains about 90% or more of natural ice glide. Of course, there are several criteria to keep in mind when shooting for the most authentic ice feel on your plastic rink:
- Quality materials matter. Buying the cheapest rink will NOT pay off in the long haul. The softer the tiles, the more shavings, and friction will build up in a short time. The best investment is to purchase the hardest, most resilient tiles you can afford and insist on a self-lubricating product.
- Sharpen your skate blades often. A sharp edge performs the best on synthetic ice, for gliding, stopping, and quick turns.
- Ensure a clean surface. Though KwikRink Synthetic Ice tiles boast low maintenance requirements, you’ll still want to keep them clean before and after each use. You will need a cloth push-broom to clear away dust and dirt (especially on outdoor rinks). Additionally, a gentle cleaner to wipe down sweat or spills after each skate helps ensure a superior natural skating feel on your plastic rink.
How Can Plastic Ice Help Me Improve My Hockey Training?
All synthetic ice gives at least a hint of more friction than natural ice. By using plastic ice, you’ll develop some distinct training improvements when you practice regularly on plastic ice. Check it out:
- Increased speed from pushing off more explosively on synthetic ice.
- Increased cardio-vascular stamina and muscle endurance from working at slightly higher loads versus natural ice.
- Enhanced maneuvering precision, direction changes, and stopping. This enhanced performance results from practicing in smaller spaces on synthetic ice (like in the basement or garage.)
- Synthetic rink versatility leads to more practice time, which results in improved skills. (If you don’t have to wait for winter or reserve arena space to practice, you can work on hockey skills, drills, and scrimmages at any time.)
Other Comparisons to Consider
Playing hockey on plastic ice may also be different because you can customize the size of your rink.
For example, you might set up a small rink at home to work on shooting accuracy or footwork. Or, you could assemble an outdoor rink on a flat surface smaller than regulation size. This size is excellent for some one-on-one pick up games, or a neighborhood set-up for off-ice practice. Ice tiles may even come in handy for exercise at the office.
When deciding the rink you need, think carefully about what you’ll use it for the most. Also, consider what type of space you have available, and how your plastic ice can serve you the best.
Plastic Ice: The Clear Advantage for Hockey Players
Synthetic ice offers near-identical ice feel when you purchase a high-quality, self-lubricating system. If you keep the tiles clean and keep your blades sharp each time you skate, you’ll hardly see a difference.
Further, synthetic ice tiles assemble and tear down in a snap (literally!) They can store away easily piled next to a wall for convenience and to promote effective use of space. When well-maintained, your tiles can last up to 10 years of hockey-skating excellence.
Plastic ice is not weather-dependent and doesn’t require the freezing systems used on indoor natural ice. You can customize your rink size for any function, space, or programming requirements.
Hockey players in every corner of the world can benefit from skating on plastic ice. Especially if you live in warm regions or places without access to indoor arena ice. For localities building their hockey programs from the ground up, synthetic ice can be a massive helping hand in promoting the best sport around (in our humble opinion).
KwikRink Is the Leader in Customized Plastic Ice Systems
For superior materials, custom sizing, and exemplary customer service, connect with the professionals at KwikRink Synthetic Ice. Our experienced rink-builders can help you select the products, size, and accessories that check every box on your hockey list.
We provide tool-free interlocking tiles with superior glide and resilience. We also offer top-of-the-line accessories to make your hockey rink everything you need and want.
Stop by our website today for a free quote, and get skating this month!