How Thick Is The Ice In A Hockey Rink?

How Thick Is The Ice In A Hockey Rink?

Ice hockey is one of the most intense and fast-paced sports in the world. It's known for high-energy intermittent skating, but how thick is the ice?

May 2, 2022
How Thick Is The Ice In A Hockey Rink?

Ice hockey is one of the most intense and fast-paced sports in the world. The sport is known for its high-energy intermittent skating, fast swings, quick change of pace and duration - and a lot of body contact.

It all is made possible because of the ice on the rink.

If you've ever attended a live hockey game or enjoyed watching it on television, you might be curious to know more about the ice surface and its total thickness. 

This article will show you more information about the thickness of the ice in a hockey rink.

Ice Hockey Rink Thickness

The NHL has specific rules about hockey rink dimensions and ice thickness. 

Each rink is 200 feet by 85 feet and uses ice that typically is 3/4 of an inch or 0.75" thick, which equates to 19.05 millimeters or 1.905 centimeters. 

Many of you might assume a hockey rink's ice is extraordinarily thick, given how well it can withstand having dozens of players skating on it at once. 

However, super thick ice on a hockey rink is not preferable. The thicker the ice is, the softer and slower it will be for players. Thinner ice is best because the ice will be harder, allowing the game to be faster.

Meanwhile, an outdoor ice-skating rink's ice surface may have a variable thickness. They don't need to be constructed using NHL-style ice. 

Since there is no need for an ice skater to have extreme speed as hockey players, the ice thickness of an outdoor skating rink can reach 1.5 inches or even thicker.

How Hockey Rink Ice Is Made

Many believe all you need to do to make the ice on a hockey rink is to pour a lot of water on the rink and wait for it to freeze. Well, the process is much more sophisticated and comprehensive than that.

A massive indirect refrigeration system is utilized to help the ice hockey surface freeze and stay at the necessary temperature. With the help of a network of pipes beneath the ice, this refrigeration device can pump up to 10,000 gallons of freezing brine water each minute. 

The water used as brine is ordinary water with dissolved alkaline salts, which gives it a slight stickiness. Brine water freezes at temperatures lower than ordinary water, which means it can be circulated through pipes without freezing, while still being cold enough to freeze the water on top of the concrete floors in the rink.

The ultimate technique of creating the rinks is by layering the ice. 

An ultra-thin layer of ice is sprayed straight over the cold concrete and immediately freezes. Once the layer of ice has formed, smaller layers of ice, each measuring a fraction of an inch, are sprayed onto the top layer of ice. Then, the process of layering will continue until the desired thickness of ice is achieved.

Learning little-known facts about the sport we watch, especially the technical aspects of the ice, is interesting for hockey fans.