Affordable Synthetic Ice Panels at Home

Why should you consider synthetic ice panels?

An ice rink ice is a great way to hone your ice hockey skills, practice ice skating, or spend time enjoying the rink with friends and family. But did you know that not all ice skating rinks are made of mechanically refrigerated or natural ice? A synthetic ice skating rink is made from engineered plastic interlocking panels, not real ice!

Want to see for yourself? You can view our synthetic ice catalogue here.

Ice Skating Rink Cheap Alternative: Synthetic Ice Panels

If you’re looking for an ice hockey ice rink alternative for your organization or even your own home, a plastic ice skating rink may be the perfect solution. There’s less mess and minimal maintenance when you choose synthetic ice. Plastic panels can be combined to create a custom synthetic ice rink of any size, and you can even choose between an outdoor rink, or an indoor rink.

Fake ice is suitable for all ice skating sports and activities. If it calls for ice, synthetic ice is the logical answer. Installing and maintaining a real ice hockey rink can be astronomically expensive and cumbersome. Hockey rink ice must be regularly smoothed and maintained to provide a smooth skating surface. But with a synthetic ice rink, hockey players can skate all day without reconditioning the ice surface. Water is all that is needed to clean your synthetic ice rink.

Backyard Ice Skating Rinks made from Synthetic Ice Panels

Every hockey player dreams of  having a hockey ice rink in their home, or even a small patch of goalie ice for added practice sessions away from the rink. Backyard synthetic rinks of any size are now affordable and practical with synthetic ice panels. Your backyard rink can be custom ordered to suit your available space constructs, and we can deliver artificial ice panels to make year-round skating at home a reality.

An outdoor ice rink is just what you need to practice your ice hockey at home when you can’t get to the commercial ice rink. Outdoor ice hockey rinks provide all the space you need to give you the competitive edge at your next hockey game.

If you’re serious about hockey, rinks (ice and plastic, both) are where you spend your free time. Wouldn’t it be great to have an ice rink for backyard parties, weekends, and late-night practices? Even a small rink can provide countless opportunities for hockey practice sessions. Outdoor ice rinks are very popular, but an outside ice rink isn’t always convenient. When you need an indoor practice session, a basement synthetic ice rink provides the space and privacy you need to practice at any hour, day or night.

If you have an ice skating rink idea, or need to find out what your options are for creating a custom ice hockey rink, give us a call today. SmartRink offers the absolute best prices on synthetic ice panels. In fact, if you find a better price on a similar-quality synthetic ice product, we’ll match it. You’ll get SmartRink’s superior customer service and installation at the lowest prices available- guaranteed.

Contact us to find out more about synthetic ice panels or to get a free quote on your custom synthetic ice project.

 

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Backyard Rink Boards

A synthetic backyard rink in Ontario, Canada with hockey boards

Hockey boards for synthetic ice rinks

We get asked a lot about boards for home synthetic ice hockey rinks and commercial synthetic ice rinks. The commercial rinks frankly are easier because there are some great companies out there making high quality perimeter arena board systems. They range from molded plastic to high end NHL style pro systems with various upper containment options. But when it comes to a safe, durable, good looking system for inside or outside home applications – frankly the industry has come up short – until now.

Installing durable hockey boards on a backyard rink

Recently we installed a 48 ft x 30 ft synthetic ice backyard rink on a raised wooden platform. The area was very uneven and it was more cost effective for the owner to build a platform than to put in retaining walls and pour concrete. So we had very little margin for error in this job and we wanted to be able to maximize the usable space. So we challenged a fabricator to come up with a super strong but lighter duty board system that would stand up to 20 years of backyard hockey abuse.

What they came up with was the ProLite hockey board system. The frame on this system is incredibly only 1.5 inches thick but its welded aluminum and is very strong. Its cladded with a 1/2 inch TPO material which is especially great for outside installations as it has minimal expansion and contraction due to weather variances.

For lateral stability ProLite recommended using a dipped galvanized steel stabilizer that connected to each eight foot section and was easily bolted together with stainless steel hardware.

There was a total of four gates in this rink. The owner’s plan was to use two for player bench doors and then one at the end for snow blower access and then a general access door opposite the players benches. Each door was 36″ wide and was attached using heavy stainless hardware mounted to the aluminum frames.

Finally we placed netting around the rink so that the neighbours would be safe from flying pucks!

All in all this is an impressive “light-duty” system that will last decades in reality and should easily withstand any family or community rink application – indoors or out.

Thinking about a synthetic ice rink for your home? Contact us here.

 

 

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Cleaning Your Synthetic Ice


cleaning your synthetic ice

How to Clean Synthetic Ice

No different than any flooring surface, synthetic ice gets dirty and should be regularly cleaned. The dirt comes from a variety of sources. Most of it is simply airborne dust that settles on the surface. Since most products are either white or light blue it tends to show up and can become unsightly if not taken care of.

Cleaning your synthetic ice surface does not have to be difficult, but that being said, the longer you postpone the job, the tougher it will become. Larger synthetic ice rink surfaces are clearly more work – unless you are fortunate enough to have a mechanical floor cleaning machine at your disposal. Over the years I have experimented with a variety of methods.

Synthetic Ice Maintenance at Home

For smaller surfaces used at home probably the most common form of cleaning your synthetic ice is the old mop and bucket method. A good wet mop will loosen up the dirt. Put a liberal amount of water on the surface and then wring out the mop and use it again to remove the dirty water. Repeat as required until you achieve the desired result. If you have really stubborn ground-in dirt, then I have found that a stiff deck brush and a little elbow grease works wonders on puck marks and stick tape marks. If nothing else it’s a good rigorous workout!

I am one of those people who happens to have a small mechanical floor cleaner which works great for synthetic ice. These devices have a scrubbing cylinder in front with a stiff brush. Water sprays out of the unit onto the ice surface and the scrubber works it into the surface and cleans it. The nice part is that it also sucks the dirty water back up into the unit’s holding tank. It usually takes me a few passes to get it looking nice again.

The Most Effective Way to Clean Your Hockey Tiles

By far the most effective method has to be pressure washing. A number of my customers own a pressure washer and they do an outstanding job on even the dirtiest synthetic ice surface. Some pressure washer models even have a covered hood on the front of the machine with two rotating spray heads that really do an excellent job in removing stubborn dirt.

Finally, many people wonder – is a detergent or degreaser recommended? What we usually advise is if the surface becomes clean using only warm water then don’t worry about a cleaner. If you find water is not working well enough then use a neutral (low or non foaming) cleaner. What you don’t want to do is leave behind a foam or cleaner residue. Although this won’t harm the product, it could leave an unwanted residue behind. If you do use a cleaner then just make sure that it is rinsed off really well.

I hope this short article answered your questions regarding synthetic ice maintenance. If done regularly you should be able to maintain a nice clean looking surface for the life of the product. Ensuring that your surface is clean will make for a better skating experience on your synthetic ice rink.

Looking for more information?

If you want to view our catalogue of synthetic ice products, you can check them out here – or if you have any questions about synthetic ice and synthetic ice maintenance, send me an email here.

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How Your Commercial Synthetic Ice Rink Project Could Become Your Next Business Investment!

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Invest in a Synthetic Ice Rink Business.

As devastating as covid has been on so many businesses – it has also created opportunities.

The general public are looking for fun and safe things to do. Many sports teams, athletes and skating events have been directly impacted by the new social distancing and operating requirements. 

Rinks are now required to have lower numbers and shorter hours, which affects the amount of practices, games and leisure skates available. Supply is just not meeting demand, which provides a great business opportunity in the right situation.

Consider this, a commercial synthetic ice rink that not only brings opportunities to local families for scheduled skates, but could also close the gap for much needed practices and training for hockey players, goalies and figure skaters, who are lacking ice time!  You determine the surface size to fit your specific needs. 

Additionally, there is a glut of commercial real estate as so many businesses have shut down due to covid, and a lot of prime locations are now available. There are new government incentives available (providing backing for bank loans as one example) to assist the economy to grow and develop once again. 

Whether it be an indoor or an all season outdoor rink, the environmental sustainability of synthetic ice is the most cost efficient and environmentally responsible option. Say goodbye to the massive capital costs and huge ongoing operating costs of a mechanically refrigerated ice rink – not to mention the environmental footprint over the life cycle of the rink.

synthetic ice rink alberta

There are lots of variables to consider when planning a commercial synthetic ice skating rink. For example, what is the business plan? How many skaters can we safely allow on the rink? Should the rink be inside or outside? Will it be permanent or seasonal? What will the rink be used for? What permits and insurance is required? What is the best product for commercial use that will be durable and long lasting? 

These are all important considerations to make and are frequently asked questions we hear from clients all the time; rest assured we are here to help!

We have a history dating back to 1980. Being one of the first and most knowledgeable companies in our industry, our team at SmartRink can help with your project from start to finish!

We have managed and helped install small and large scale commercial rinks and training centres all over the world and helping you succeed and reach your goal is what we do best!

Contact our business development team today to discuss how your Commercial Synthetic Ice Rink Project Could Become your Next Business Investment!

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2021 – Think Eco-Friendly with SmartRink Synthetic Ice

There’s no doubt about it, SmartRink synthetic ice is an eco-friendly solution to real ice. 

Synthetic ice rinks do not require water (other than for cleaning purposes) and without the use of refrigeration, high electricity expenses and heavy equipment it is an environmentally focused cost effective alternative that is rapidly becoming a widely accepted skating platform worldwide.

Not only is it capital / operating cost effective and eco-friendly, the accessibility benefits open up all kinds of new opportunities that are just not practical with real ice. 

Imagine skating all summer long outdoors

Imagine training virtually anywhere because home rinks are becoming a safer option during the pandemic.

We have clients in warmer climates throughout the world who are enjoying this sport outdoors all year long, some even for the first time!

At SmartRink, we believe in being aware of our environmental footprint and responsibilities. Worldwide corporations and governments are continually implementing laws to limit carbon emissions. 

We stand behind the durability of our German manufactured panels, some that offer even a lifetime use warranty, but we also take pride in knowing we use materials that can be recycled even after many years of use.

We challenge you to partner with us!

That’s the SmartRink difference.

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2020 Year at a Glance

To say this was a challenging, strange, stressful year would be an understatement.

Families, businesses and sports have had a challenging time navigating this new normal that has affected us all.

The last time SmartRink was able to travel outside of Atlantic Canada was March 20, 2020. We built a beautiful new training center rink in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Since then, like a lot of companies, we have had to adapt and adjust how we do business.

Regardless of these new challenges, business continued and communities around the world in various stages of lock down were determined to continue to train.

We utilized technology to help us with communication and this even allowed us to provide animated assembly instructions to support our distributors worldwide.

We are super proud of all the SmartRink clients who never gave up and continued to train!

We have been privileged to be able to help and support so many families, communities and sports teams as they found creative and strategic ways to continue training, developing skill and working hard!

It has been a heartwarming and humbling experience to share in your stories and challenges as you faced this new normal and the many struggles that accompanied it.

SmartRink salutes you all!

They kept training in Canada

They kept training in USA

They kept training in Finland

They kept training in China

They kept training in Switzerland

Around the world they kept skating, working on their skills, getting better, faster, and more determined.

It has been a pleasure to work with all of you. Our clients vary from families to training centres, worldwide distributors, sports teams and schools all over the globe.

We value each and every one of you and wish you a safe and prosperous 2021!

Congratulations to you all! Keep up the great work!

 

 

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How One Community Gave Back to Local Kids: Synthetic Ice Skating at its Best!

John Robertson, a youth hockey volunteer in Waterville, Maine, knew that they had to make a plan for the 5000+ underprivileged kids in their community.

Being in the midst of a pandemic makes it especially hard for youth hockey players to have ice time and SmartRink was pleased to be selected for such a noteworthy project.

“We had to come up with a plan for this winter to get kids on the ice, or in this case the synthetic ice, with everything that’s going on,” says Central Maine Youth Hockey volunteer John Robertson, “This was our best bang for our buck.”

And the really cool part is that its the first SmartRink synthetic ice community rink ever installed in Maine.

SmartRinks ProFast line is a unique German engineered skating surface with the perfect blend of high performance and durability. Our sinter pressed process allows us to use a higher molecular weight material that exhibits superior glide, but also no dusty residue – something is particularly important in a youth centre. The quality and durability of this product line was the perfect solution for a large multi purpose training centre. The durable ProFast panels always lie flat, ensuring a seamless feel when skating.

CEO Ken Walsh of the Alfond Youth & Community Centre says it well; “So even in the summer months, we could take it and put it outside in the parking lot and people could still skate. Isn’t that awesome, it’s a great part about this thing and you can place it anywhere.”

Their ultimate goal is to build a full size arena through fundraising. But for now this SmartRink is the ideal medium term solution.  They will be able to rent this surface out to community groups as part of their overall fundraising efforts while still providing needed access to the hockey club.

From all of us here at SmartRink, we want to congratulate the Central Maine Youth Hockey Association on a job well done! It is terrific to see communities come together and fill a need like this!

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How to Avoid Kids Video Game Binging During Lockdown

Like many 12 year old boys, Johnny loved hockey.  He would spend every waking moment on the ice if he could, and his parents were more than supportive given the amount of other kids who invest countless hours binge playing video games.

You can only imagine the devastation this boy, and many other kids in his community faced when the Covid lock down hit his hometown and the rink (which was really his second home) was closed down.  For a child who has spent much of his life, including many weeknights and every weekend on the ice, it is almost traumatizing to think about hockey and ice time coming to a complete stop, but there was no better time to seek out an alternative solution!

A home rink just made sense and for the Smith family.  It was a great project for Jonny’s father to take on, as you can imagine now working from home and also being on lock down was hard for the whole family.

We discussed products, size, a goal crease and we put together a package that arrived at his doorstep in less than 2 days! 

One product feature they appreciated was the option to stagger panels row to row – a unique design to SmartRinks products. The staggered or brick bond setup makes for a stronger joint pattern that is especially helpful when the floor under the material is not uniformly flat or level. In addition, this pattern can reduce otherwise wasted cut panels! For example, when cutting half of the panel off the end of one row, you can use the remaining piece for the beginning of the next.

We walked him through each step of the install and in no time at all Johnny was back on the ice again!

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SmartRink – We Bring Skating to the World!

Did you know, SmartRink Synthetic ice has a worldwide distribution network bringing skating anywhere in the world!

Not only can we ship directly from our factory in Germany, but we have stocked warehouses around the globe that can provide fast, reasonably priced shipping of our products to any location.

In addition to our worldwide distribution capabilities, we offer start to finish support to our clients to ensure their final product not only meets, but exceeds their expectations.

Whether it be a backyard or community rink, a training centre, shopping mall or school, we have over 30 years of experience and can help with any project at any capacity.

Here are some of the services we provide:

    • Product Selection – From selecting the best product line and thickness, to determining rink size and custom features (creases/lines/perimeter barriers), we can help tailor your project to create the perfect set up! With our application specific product line, we offer a broader range of synthetic ice panel solutions, ensuring the best product for your unique project.
    • Logistics Support – Ensuring it gets from Point A to Point B, anywhere in the world!
    • Design – Build – Whether it’s helping plan out the right surface for your install, or being on site to install the product for you, our trained staff will ensure the process runs smoothly and is done with expertise.
    • Maintenance – Although synthetic ice is more sustainable and requires less maintenance then real ice, it still requires regular cleaning.  We will teach you how to maintain your product for long lasting results. 
    • Consulting – This is an especially helpful service for clients managing larger scale projects such as shopping malls and training centres. We offer consulting services, permit information, and health and safety training to ensure all aspects of the project are being reviewed and met with expertise and experience.
    • Operations Training – For some clients, synthetic ice or managing a community rink is a first time experience. SmartRink offers turn-key solutions that include training, rink management and additional products and services including skates, sharpeners, and anything you might require to run your rink, even skating lessons!
    • Warranty – At SmartRink, we believe in our products, and we know they are built to last. We have the best warranty in the business including our famous Forever USE Warranty on home rinks.

We would love the opportunity to offer you our expertise on your next project! Contact us today at info@smartrink.com

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Brief History of Synthetic Ice

In the early 1960’s the idea of polyethylene plastic being used as a substitute for ice was born, with the world’s first commercially viable synthetic ice product launching in 1978.

The polymers used back then, although state of the art at the time, were not great for skaters. They could not glide smoothly on the surface without the regular application of a silicone compound or alternative lubricant. Even then, it did not have the smooth glide of regular ice.

Our subsidiary company history, NOICEONE, goes back to the 1980’s – the first full size synthetic skating rink was installed in Southport, UK introducing a patented interlocking panel made of a higher density polyethylene. It was truly revolutionary. The surface still needed to be sprayed regularly with a gliding fluid to be maintained, but advancements in panel connection systems and skateable materials were slowly being made.  

Into the 1990’s, NOICEONE was the worldwide front runner in manufacture, design and installation around the world, and is still working away today developing innovative new products and improving materials. SmartRink has had the direct benefit of both past achievements of NOICEONE and been directly involved in more recent engineering advancements of this product and want to share some of the things we have learned.

Most synthetic ice suppliers today are still using mass produced extruded polyethylene material. This product may have evolved over the years, however it certainly doesn’t meet the SmartRink quality standards for GLIDE, PERFORMANCE and DURABILITY.

Having over 40 years experience in the industry, we have been heavily involved with testing of various products on the market. Our German manufacturer (OKULEN) completes continuous in house research, development and engineering to maintain a world renowned product that is second to no other.

Here is a brief overview of accomplishments:

  • First commercially viable product for sale in 1978
  • Developed and patented the H-Tongue connection system
  • Popularized the synthetic ice Home Rink Advantage selling rinks to homeowners in Canada and USA
  • Sold and installed the world’s first permanent NHL size rink (still in operation).
  • Installed the world’s largest backyard synthetic ice rink (we think it still has the record)
  • Designed and patented the world’s first Hybrid-Lock(TM) connection system
  • Developed in conjunction with our partners the only officially endorsed ice less curling system by the World Curling Federation
  • Invented the world’s only inter-connected 2 sided goal crease
  • Sold the first ever synthetic ice skating rink to Barbados
  • Developed the world’s only true comparison measurement test tool : The Weighted Skate Test (TM)
  • Developed our trademark Ice-Y-Blue700(TM) skating material

On to Today:

Our premium grade panel uses a Very High Molecular Weight Pe virgin resin as raw material and then is sinter pressed (a process that uses extreme hot and cold pressure to ensure an extremely dense material). Our Exclusive producer partner, OKULEN, has a meticulous DIN ISO9001 quality system in place, which consistently produces an exceptional skating panel every time! The process ensures no gaps or air pockets, only a solid homogeneous sheet. During the process the material is de-stressed so that it always lies flat.

Synthetic ice is used all over the world as a replacement for real ice.  Without the need for refrigeration, electricity or heavy equipment, the environmental impacts are substantial, offering an environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. At the end of the useful life of our material, it can even be ground up and reprocessed

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