Monthly Archives: July 2013

Living the Dream on Synthetic Ice

Synthetic ice can make a huge difference in your child’s skating and skills development. I receive a lot of calls from really proud hockey parents and figure skating parents who know their kids have some talent when it comes to skating or playing hockey. Like most parents they want their kids to be high achievers and to have every opportunity to be their best. They consider buying synthetic ice because it can truly make a difference in their children’s training and therefore their on ice performance.

I saw first hand what synthetic ice did for my kids

And it’s true. I have seen that with my own eyes with my own kids. Both of my kids are excellent skaters. My son now plays junior hockey while attending university, and my daughter is attending a hockey prep school on scholarship. I saw first hand what synthetic ice did for my kids hockey training at home.

Now I’m not talking about synthetic ice that is impossible to skate on, or turn, or pivot, or skate backwards. I’m talking about a high quality product that will help your child develop their skills. There is nothing worse than paying a bunch of your hard earned dollars on a product that over promises and under delivers. What will happen is your child will not like it, and they will not use it. My industry is full of synthetic ice companies like that. Whether you live in Canada, U.S.A., or anywhere in the world, there are a few great products, and a lot of just OK products. So research your synthetic ice company before you buy.

Buy a quality synthetic ice product

You can really help your child live the dream and train properly when they buy a quality synthetic ice product, or at the very least a synthetic ice product that might have lower quality but is priced appropriately.

Your child should be able to do anything on a good synthetic ice product that they can do on real ice. That said, synthetic ice will not instantly make your child a better skater. If the proper mechanics are not there to begin with then like anything it will become a work in progress. Great improvements can be made though rapidly because your child can now be practicing everyday at any time. There are no longer restrictions on ice times.

Train on synthetic ice at home, anytime you want

Imagine if your child was a good skater, but just could not lift the puck, or take a slap shot. A common enough scenario. Now put synthetic ice in your basement or garage and all of a sudden they can practice with their skates on – at home! Now instead of taking 100 shots in running shows they have their skates on and are at the correct height to take a shot because they are on top of synthetic ice. Now the possibilities are endless all of a sudden. Day by day the shots improves and now your child is actually encouraged and excited to go to practice again so they can show off their new skills to their team mates.

The next thing you know tryouts are here and your child is becoming the full package. Great skater, all the skills, all the things coaches look for in selections. You know you made a good decision in buying the synthetic ice for home and you have given your child every chance to make the most of it.

Having synthetic ice at home means training anytime. That’s a good feeling.

If you are serious about your child’s future development then an investment in synthetic ice is a wise one. There is probably no better training tool and they will be one step closer to fulfilling their dreams. Read more about why SmartRink synthetic ice would be great for you athlete.


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Synthetic Ice Connection Systems – do your homework!

Choose the right synthetic ice product for your application

We have written numerous articles about the importance of synthetic ice product selection for your application. There is a very good reason why! Not all products are very well suited to all applications. This synthetic ice review demonstrates the importance of selecting the right synthetic ice connection system for the job.

Just recently we faced a situation with a customer looking for a backyard synthetic ice rink with goal creases and some hockey line markings. We proposed our solution but unfortunately we lost out on the pricing. The red flag to the client should have been when the competitor priced their solution at more than 30% lower than our own. That’s a significant drop in price. I did suggest to the client that they at least negotiate a 30 day money back guarantee from the supplier as I was suspicious about the quality, especially when the price was cut so drastically.

On the surface the product looked like it was going to be really good but the reality is that the product failed miserably.

The family was completely dismayed and frustrated, especially after spending a great deal of money! At this point they called us back and asked us for suggestions that might help them out, even though it wasn’t our product. We did make some suggestions about the sub surface which was a newly poured concrete pad. But once they showed us the installation photos of the problem there was really nothing that could be done. They managed to convince the supplier to take it back and to their credit they did take it back, although it was not an easy process in terms of removal, packing and shipping.

Synthetic ice connection systems matter

The main trouble with this particular synthetic ice rink system was wherever the synthetic ice or goal creases or lines joined the standard synthetic ice panels there was a problem with the fit of the connection. The alignment was so bad that a puck could not slide over those areas, it would stop dead. Then when the temperature changed it became even worse as the product expanded or contracted as the temperature affected it. This would be especially concerning come winter time when there was rain turning to ice and snow. Rain would have built up under the panels then froze, and popped all the connection joints making the rink completely useless – not to mention unsafe for skating.

It’s an unfortunate lesson this family had to go through. Their new synthetic ice rink should have been an exciting experience and instead was frustrating and time consuming.

Inexpensive synthetic ice systems often mean shortcuts

We have always maintained that the only true way to make a strong, safe, and long term connection for hockey lines is to use the H-lock spline system between hockey lines and the synthetic ice panels. It takes a little more time to install and its generally more expensive however the result is undeniable. You will end up with a tight, secure joint that has no movement either horizontally or vertically. This is even more important where the seasonal temperatures can range from freezing to hot. Inexpensive synthetic ice systems generally mean shortcuts somewhere.

This client now understands only too well how frustrating that can be. Do your research, understand your application, and ask the suppliers all the tough questions. Synthetic ice systems are not created equally.








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