February 17, 2012 – Natural frozen bodies of water and backyard ice rinks used to restricted snow sports to those places with freezing temperatures during certain time of the year. Recreational ice skating along with winter sports like ice hockey, figure skating and curling, however, became popular so that the demand led to the development of technologies to build artificial and synthetic ice rinks. An ice hockey rink is specially designed for the team snow sport in which the rectangle rink has rounded corners and surrounded by boards or walls of one meter height.
Natural ice hockey rinks are those found on open bodies of water like ponds, lakes, and rivers. The surfaces of the waters must solidify quickly and strong enough to support weight and activities. Ridau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, Canada is the most famous of these (being the largest) with an area of about 163,900 square meters. The Red River at Winnipeg, Canada at 8.5 kilometers is the longest rink. Rinks can also be made be made by enclosing a level ground, filling it up with water and letting it freeze. The borders can be packed with snow to serve as containment material. These are how backyard ice rinks are made.
An ice hockey rink can also be built artificially using mechanically frozen ice in places where there is no winter. A bed of sand or concrete forms the base of the rink which contain the pipes. The antifreeze or refrigerant in the pipes cause the water on the surface to freeze. Measuring 100,000 square feet, Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval which is the largest and most famous example. Meanwhile, a synthetic ice hockey rink is constructed using solid polymer, specifically high density polyethylene (HDPE) and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW). These are materials that possess properties that offer ice skating characteristics.
The ice hockey rinks, whether natural, backyard, artificial or synthetic have dimensions which fit the specifications of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) or the National Hockey League (NHL) in North America. With the artificial and synthetic ice hockey rink, ice hockey just made it a sport for all seasons which can be played anywhere in the world.