Monthly Archives: June 2014
Is synthetic ice training really what you or your child needs? This post is going to attempt to help you answer that question. First of all you have to ask yourself what it is that you are trying to achieve. Are you focused on getting a better shot? Is it skating you are looking to improve? Perhaps it’s puck handling. Maybe it’s all of those things. Regardless, you have to try to decide what your priorities are and whether a synthetic ice surface will help.
There are a lot of misconceptions about synthetic ice in general. There are a great many products around now and some are good and some are poor. In very general terms you can pretty well do anything on the better quality synthetic ice training products. The low end products can be fine for shooting but bad for skating. It’s really worthwhile to understand what you are buying. If your goal is to be able to work on your stride mechanics for example then make sure you look at the best quality products or you will be disappointed. I often hear hockey dads and moms complaining that the synthetic ice is bad or too difficult to skate on. In some cases they are correct. But to be fair in a lot of cases their child is simply a poor skater mechanically. A choppy stride on real ice will not mysteriously translate into a smoother stride on synthetic ice. It will likely look even worse! If a kid has never been taught about how to take a full stride and then a full recovery of that stride then they will struggle on synthetic ice. Sorry parents, I know its not what you want to hear but its a fact. Most kids are never taught to run either, and therefore some can run smoothly naturally, and others are poor runners. Skating is much more complex. Real ice can hide those flaws because the child can glide and therefore get away with their stride flaws. But skating on the right synthetic ice surface can be easy!
As far as shooting and puck skills improvement go – there is probably no better tool than synthetic ice training. That being said, they still need to have the basic instruction as a foundation to improvement. I have certainly seen first hand how my oldest child went from a below average shooter to a consistently top point player on whatever team he played on. His “big breakthrough” came one summer when he literally took 10,000 shots with his skates on training on synthetic ice. This gave him tremendous confidence in his game, and he’s now 20 years old and still plays junior hockey and is in love with the game. For him synthetic ice training at home was a tremendous investment in his skill that will be with him for life.
If your child is one who might be described as a timid player – then synthetic ice training can be used to develop his “competitive spirit or drive”. Hockey dads get your skates on too and work on angling, rubbing out, small body contact, driving the net and so on. There are dozens of fun little drills you can dream up. Stop saying “I wish my kid could do this or that”. They can do it. I’ve seen it myself. I have seen kids transform from mild mannered kids off ice to super competitive players on ice. But they have to put the time in, and there has to be a lot of patience at times (I’m talking to you hockey parents).
Synthetic ice training is no magic trick. It’s a training tool that allows you the flexibility for your child to train when they want, in the privacy of your home. It allows hockey dad to have countless hours of fun with your kids and to help them with all those little subtle things that will make them better players.
So in summary, decide first what skills you will like to work on most, and then decide on the quality of product you can afford. The best product ARE the most expensive – regardless of what the suppliers all say. If you are not 100% sure how much to get – then buy a smaller amount now and then once you get it you can always buy more later. Have fun and enjoy your synthetic ice training!!
Check out these hockey drills you can try on your synthetic ice surface.
Had a great discussion today with a Montreal homeowner looking to create a backyard rink using our SmartSkate8000 product which is a dovetail connection system. He currently has a grass surface so we talked about what he would require to do to prepare the surface for that product type. Montreal is obviously a winter climate with lots of snow and freezing wet weather, so its important to do it right.
He was thinking that he would create a crib frame using framed lumber – likely 2×6. He wanted a size that was approximately 10 ft x 16.5 ft. It was suggested that the lumber frame could be mounted on some concrete patio stones that would allow easy leveling of the frame. Inside the frame a landscaping cloth should be stapled to the wood frame to hold it in place. Then either sand or crushed stone would make a great base that would allow any water to easily drain.
The client did some research on what could be used as a solid base on top of the levelled and compacted sand or crushed stone base. The product he came up with is called EZ Base and its a polypropylene material with drainage holes. Looks like it should work really well. Plywood could be used as well but I’d like it to be a marine grade product and then drainage holes should be drilled in the plywood to allow water to drain. You can learn more about backyard synthetic ice rink boards our clients have used.
After all this is done the building the backyard synthetic ice rink is pretty well done other than to install the synthetic ice itself. That will the easiest part! Simply take a rubber mallet and bang the joints together tightly, and away you go for a skate.
Hope this post might help a few folks with building a simplistic base for building the backyard synthetic ice rink.
Finally a new synthetic ice product…
It’s really been sometime since something truly innovative has come along with the synthetic ice industry – until now! SmartRink is extremely pleased to announce the newest material in their impressive lineup. It’s a brand new synthetic ice product and we call it ProFast-SG. The “SG” stands for “SmartGlide”. SmartGlide refers to the permanent glide material that has been thoroughly mixed and infused with the dry resin prior to being sinter pressed. The reason this technology is “smart” is because the glide material is found completely throughout the pressed sheet material. It’s not just a patch here and a patch there as other material makers have. It’s not “dripping” out at the “pores” of the material as some well known products are known to be like. This material is “smart” because it actually feels “dry” to the touch. It’s not greasy, it does not drip, it does not leach out or evaporate. It just stays there and does it’s job – for the life of the panel – just like you would expect.
Truly a heavy duty synthetic ice connection system
The commercial synthetic ice rink panel shown in this image is the ProFast1500-SG. This is a heavy duty commercial synthetic ice panel that is 15mm (0.60 inch) thick that uses our “hybrid” connection system – a combination of male and female machined perimeter edges and H-Tongues for connecting the solid synthetic ice line markings and creases. This is a rink that will not fail due to expansion, contraction, or severe temperature changes. This product has it all!
A happy synthetic ice owner
The owner of this new synthetic ice rink certainly thought so when his son saw it for the first time and spent 2 straight hours on it – after just playing 8 hockey games over the past 3 days!
Enjoy your new rink!