Synthetic ice goaltender training

Synthetic Ice Goaltender Training

@gervs13 @networkgoaltending Power, agility and speed! #goaliecoaches #goalie #davestathosgoalieperformancecenter #hockey

A video posted by DAVE STATHOS GOALIE CENTER (@goaliecenter) on

 

Ask Dave Stathos how he is feeling about training more than 600 goalies on his SmartRink synthetic ice surface and he tell you that he’s been impressed.

According to Dave…”SmartRink has exceeded our expectations. Before we purchased SmartRink I skated on over 20 different types and this one had the best feeling. Also I don’t have to spray anything on it and it heals itself as you use it.”

Dave has a deep background as a goalie having played professionally in Finland as well as NCAA for Princeton University.

About a year ago Dave opened up Dave Stathos Goalie Development Center in Kanata Ontario – see www.davestathos.com . He has some of the most innovative goal training sessions available anywhere in terms of training goaltenders on synthetic ice or any kind of ice for that matter. Dave is a pro at what he does.

Dave was initially concerned about the wear and tear on the material having seen how other products wear down quickly especially with goalie skates stopping and pushing in the same spots.

“I have to say that after one year and 600 goalies there is no sign of it wearing down faster in any specific spots. And he goes on to add “I have yet to see any other setup that looks and feels better.”

Thanks Dave for the very kind endorsement.

On his 30 foot x 40 foot setup Dave can train up to 6 goalies per session using up to 4 nets depending on the drills. He also uses video technology from various angles to further assist his students in reviewing drills to suggest further improvements.

It must be working for him as he has been non stop all summer doing hockey camps and individual training sessions.

Dave likes the product so much that he has offered for us to send anyone his way to discuss it with him.

Ask Dave Stathos how he is feeling about training more than 600 goalies on his SmartRink synthetic ice surface and he tell you that he’s been impressed.

According to Dave…”SmartRink has exceeded our expectations. Before we purchased SmartRink I skated on over 20 different types and this one had the best feeling. Also I don’t have to spray anything on it and it heals itself as you use it.”

Dave has a deep background as a goalie having played professionally in Finland as well as NCAA for Princeton University.

About a year ago Dave opened up Dave Stathos Goalie Development Center in Kanata Ontario – see www.davestathos.com .

Dave was initially concerned about the wear and tear on the material having seen how other products wear down quickly especially with goalie skates stopping and pushing in the same spots.

“I have to say that after one year and 600 goalies there is no sign of it wearing down faster in any specific spots. And he goes on to add “I have yet to see any other setup that looks and feels better.”

Thanks Dave for the very kind endorsement.

On his 30 foot x 40 foot setup Dave can train up to 6 goalies per session using up to 4 nets depending on the drills. He also uses video technology from various angles to further assist his students in reviewing drills to suggest further improvements.

It must be working for him as he has been non stop all summer doing hockey camps and individual training sessions.

Dave likes the product so much that he has offered for us to send anyone his way to discuss it with him. So if you have a young goalie at home and are considering synthetic ice we can put you in touch with Dave and get his expert thoughts on the matter.

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Caribbean Ice Skating

Caribbean ice skating you say? SmartRink just installed it’s first synthetic ice skating rink in the Caribbean – Barbados to be more accurate. After doing many rinks all across North America this one was particularly satisfying. For starters the genuine excitement and social media buzz this created was extraordinary. To our knowledge it was the first permanent synthetic ice rink ever built in the country.

Caribbean Skating, barbados skating, ice skating in Caribbean, synthetiic ice skating caribbean,

Icetopia Skating Rink Bridgetown Barbados

We met a great group of skilled workers while on site and that went a long way to creating a positive installation. As with most jobs there were the usual challenges. The main challenge on this one was the weather which was incredibly humid. Fortunately this did not present any concerns for the product.

The rink is not large by typical standards and at 2000 square feet took up much of the warehouse space it was in. We also erected perimeter boards. For those we supplied the white puck board and the owner had a local carpenter build the frame. We provided detailed drawings prior to arriving so the frames could be built ahead of time – and fortunately our carpenter was right on the money!

The synthetic ice floor took the better part of 2 days to install slowing down at times to do some floor repair work to improve the surface.

We provided about 125 pairs of hockey skates and also a skate sharpener. After setting up the sharpener we sharpened most of the skates in a single day. Lastly we installed rubber flooring around the skate fitting area.

Time for skating lessons! There aren’t many ice skaters in Barbados but there are lots of inline skaters. The owner had a friend who had been inline skating for many years so he became “my project”. Fortunately he picked it up quickly. Within 10 minutes he understood his inside and outside edges and how to take a full stride with a purpose and then do a full recovery as well. His 20 years of hi level inline skating translated very quickly to ice skating. It was actually quite amazing! His name is Bobby Havok (for real) and you can check out some of his skating vids here.

So who would have thought ice skating in the Caribbean would be so popular? Well it sure has been in Bridgetown. In a locale that does not offer a lot of family activities this is affordable family fun. So the next time you are in Bridgetown and looking for something to do try visiting Icetopia Skating Rink!

 

 

 

 

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synthetic ice comparison

synthetic ice comparisonHow is a consumer supposed to intelligently make a synthetic ice comparison? Admittedly it can be difficult. So exactly how do they go about it?

Well one thing they do understand is price. When something is difficult to compare consumers default to price. The problem with that is price almost never tells the full story – only part of the story. To make a more informed synthetic ice comparison a consumer requires information that they can rely on.

First things first. What are some of the basic questions for you to consider:

  1. what are you hoping to be able to do?
  2. what are your performance expectations?
  3. how much space do you have?
  4. do you place importance on quality, value, or price?

If all you hope to do is simply take shots with skates on and do some basic movements such as stepping into a shot then chances are then you could do with more of a cheap synthetic ice product – likely an extruded material. You should be able to source something for under $9.00 psf.

If your expectations are higher in terms of quality and durability then you will likely want to consider a sinter pressed / compression molded product. These materials are much more durable simply because the raw materials in this process can be a much higher molecular weight. In our lab testing we have demonstrated that the force required to move a weighted skate blade is as much as 40% less than with an extruded material. That directly translates into a superior glide.

When it comes to the size of the surface we generally tell people the larger the surface the more thought you should give to buying a premium material. With smaller surfaces (100-200 sf) you will never truly appreciate the better glide or speed because you will never get up to full stride. So we might recommend a mid range sinter pressed material or even our value priced extruded option.

The point here is that we will discuss your application and recommend the right product to reach your hockey training goals within your budget. If we do our job right then and only then can you intelligently compare one product to another.

 

 

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skating on synthetic ice

Skating on synthetic ice has it’s advantages. Sure there are folks out there who love it and there are those who don’t – like anything. What I will write about here is my own experiences with my kids – both who I (more importantly all their coaches) always considered excellent skaters.

First I will say this: if a hockey player can do something on real ice then they could do it on a high quality synthetic ice surface.

That being said there are some industry “negatives” I often hear about from people who really don’t understand or perhaps haven’t skated on the best synthetic ice surfaces:

  • “you can’t skate backwards on synthetic ice”
  • “goalies can’t do lateral slides”
  • “there is too much resistance to skate properly”
  • “will it affect my stride?”

There is no doubt that skating on synthetic ice where some products are concerned is radically different than real ice. There are some products that are so bad that it is difficult to skate backwards. Heck with some products it’s hard enough to skate forwards!

What motivated me to get into this business was our own experience with low quality products. It always amazed me that a business owner selling synthetic ice practice time would install a poor quality product but those were our first experiences with it. It was OK for shooting pucks but that was about it.

In my own experience here are things my own kids have worked on:

  • stride mechanics (relationship of hip, knee, ankle, toe)
  • posture (head up, back position, butt)
  • stride starting position to recovery
  • explosiveness (those first three quick strides)
  • edge control (leaving your comfort zone on both edges)
  • quick direction change
  • agility, footwork, quick feet

And really this is just the tip of the iceberg. But these are some basic fundamentals that all aspiring young hockey players need to pursue to get better. If a hockey player doesn’t learn these things they will struggle. Period.

We’ve all seen that kid with the quirky stride. We used to call that “skating on railroad tracks” where they have that real choppy short stride. With proper instruction skating on synthetic ice can absolutely fix that if the player is committed to fixing it. They might be filling the net but if they skate poorly they won’t get very far in hockey.

A high quality synthetic ice product like we sell at SmartRink is a great investment for your hockey kid(s). Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do certain things on synthetic ice. They are ignorant and simply don’t know. They had a bad experience or knew someone else who did. What is important is that skating on synthetic ice can not only fix flaws in skating stride it can improve your overall game.

Do all the dryland training you want – there is no substitute for being on your skates to get better.

 

 

 

 

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Heavy Duty Synthetic Ice

The term “heavy duty synthetic ice” is misused, abused, over represented and generally not well understood by potential buyers and customers. This article is going to clear all that up for you (and probably my competitors as well).

Heavy duty synthetic ice is defined by the following characteristics:heavy duty synthetic ice

  1. The type of connection system
  2. The strength of the connection system
  3. The durability of the material
  4. The panel thickness

You see the industry has this false idea that if a product is thicker then we can call it “heavy duty” without any regard to the other criteria listed above. A thicker product does not make it heavy duty. You can have a product 3/4″ thick but using a weak dovetail or jigsaw puzzle connection system where the joint is completely vulnerable to vertical separation. There is nothing heavy duty about that. Yet most competitors offer this. If the joint separates even a little vertically you have just created a very unsafe skating condition. And the larger the rink the bigger the potential problem can be because of expansion and contraction forces. Bad things can happen with temperature changes when the wrong connection system is used.

I have seen it and know of applications where hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent only to have the complete rink taken apart never to be used again.

In the image above it shows a connection system known as the H-Tongue or H-Spline system. My competitors hate it and scoff at it and call it old technology etc. The fact is this connection system has been around a while (30 years) and was even patented. But when it comes to connection strength this product is the “mother of all heavy duty synthetic ice” connection systems. Why? It can not be separated vertically or horizontally (unless you actually understand how to take it apart). Any monkey can take apart what most companies call a heavy duty system…not only that but they can easily be vandalized and even stolen if they are in outside public spaces (that’s happened too!).

We actually test and have lab verified results for the strength of our heavy duty synthetic ice connection systems. I would love to compare results with other companies…but the reality is that we also sell a jigsaw puzzle / dovetail system as well – but we are not so naive that we are going to call it “heavy duty” because we know better. The bottom line is that certain products are better suited for certain applications. There is no one size fits all in this business – so please don’t fall for that type of marketing or salesmanship.

If you are considering buying synthetic ice as a business operator, a hockey training center, a community public rink or something similar then you really should be concerned about panel joint separation. Not only could you prevent a potential safety issue but possibly even avoid potential liability concerns.  We have three “heavy duty synthetic ice” connection systems that can be discussed and we would consult with you about your intended application before we made a recommendation.

If you are serious about wanting to put in the best products to get the best results over the very long term then you owe it to yourself to consider a true heavy duty synthetic ice connection system.

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skate at home

skate at homeAs a hockey parent if someone told me that my kid could skate at home for less than a cup of coffee per day I would absolutely do that. Wouldn’t you? Probably you would.

But maybe you would need some additional information first such as “what the heck are you talking about!”

What I am talking about here is having your very own private synthetic ice training surface right in the comfort of your own home. Dollar for dollar its likely the best training investment you can make for your kids who play hockey. Most kids I know always did some kind of extra training to work on their skills. Could be shooting, quickness, agility, hands, anything really.

Imagine as a hockey dad you could all of a sudden work with your kid 1 on 1 and help them with all those little things you think they could improve upon. Their shot. Their stride. Their power. Their mechanics. Even learning to hit is possible on synthetic ice. There really is no limitation as to what you can work on with a kid using synthetic ice as the perfect skate at home training tool.

In Canada we can offer financing to hockey parents who are looking to get that little edge over other kids. Sorry – USA hockey parents – we just cant find anyone willing to write those loans in the US (but if you know a company please tell us!). The payment terms on approved credit basis can be as long as 10 years but even at 5 or 6 years on a 200 square foot surface you would literally pay less than what it costs for a cup of coffee daily.

You spend more on internet and cable TV than that!

So what are you waiting for? get on the SmartRink site and check out the financing option that is best for you or just give us a call today and we will be happy to set you up.

 

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synthetic ice summer training

Imagine synthetic ice summer training for your son or daughter! That would be pretty cool right? That is exactly what  young hockey player from St. George NB will be doing this summer on the 300 square foot synthetic ice surface his dad just purchased from us. They were here for a spring league hockey tournament and decided to come check out the product. They were impressed with the demo – enough that they filled up the back of their SUV with synthetic ice panels.

As I chatted with the proud hockey parents they were telling me how all their son wants to do is practice or play hockey. In all sincerity – this is the perfect hockey kid profile for synthetic ice. The parents who are already spending a lot of money on his budding hockey career will feel that this synthetic ice investment was worthwhile. Meanwhile the kid will be practicing and getting better every single day.

We talked about how they would really like him to get involve in some other sports like soccer or lacrosse. On the other hand they said he loves hockey and they don’t push him into it – he chooses to do it. The easy conclusion for this kid is that he will use his synthetic ice all summer long and most likely every day.

In this situation everyone is happy.

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Synthetic ice expansion

Synthetic ice expansion and contraction in larger community or commercial rinks can be problematic if proper care is not taken during the initial design stage.

In North America there are a lot of geographies that have “wild swings” in temperature. The change in temperature will have significant effects on polyethylene material – which is what most manufacturers use to make synthetic ice panel – albeit to various molecular weights and compositions – but rest assured it all expands and contracts with temperature change.

SmartRink knows exactly how much it will expand and contract from the machined temperature of 20 degrees Centigrade (about 68 degrees F). From this base line temperature we can consider the location design temperature. By that we mean to what temperature range must we design the rink according to. So we will look at historical temperature references by location – seasonal highs and lows – and size our rink relative to that. So what’s the big deal here anyway?

The big deal is that you need to be considering the synthetic ice expansion and contraction with relation to the perimeter boards if there are any, but also you need to be thinking about the forces of expansion and contraction and the effect it can have on the panel joints themselves.

The general rule of thumb I use is that the larger the rink the more important the type of connection system becomes. If it’s a full size rink for example then absolutely no question about it I would be recommending the H-Tongue heavy duty commercial connection system. It is by far the strongest system known in the industry. Most companies are selling their version of the dovetail or jigsaw puzzle joint system. We sell that as well. But I would never recommend that in a large installation as there is virtually no vertical sheer strength to prevent that joint from separating. It can work OK if the entire surface expands and contracts at exactly the same rate but that is rare because the effect of sun and shading is always present on different parts of the surface. One area for example might have sunshine on it while another area is shaded and full of frost. Then bad things will occur! The frosted area can literally be frozen in place while the sunny area is rapidly expanding. This in turn places tremendous expansion forces on the panel joints. When the expansion forces come up against the frozen panels they will still try to expand but because they are frozen possibly underneath they will not want to expand horizontally  – but vertically and that is very problematic for a jigsaw puzzle type connection system. But this is no problem for an H-Tongue connection system to deal with. While it could still rise up, the joint will not separate. Eventually when the temperature changes it will settle down once again, no harm done.

Ideally however this does not happen at all. It’s really important to allow for horizontal panel expansion around the perimeter of the rink. If there are boards there then what we have experienced is that the boards should be placed on top of the synthetic panels all around the perimeter. The synthetic ice can not be anchored it has to be allowed to expand and contract underneath the perimeter boards. The boards then also need to be anchored in such a fashion that allows the synthetic ice expansion and contraction to freely occur.

So needless to say – there are a few critical things to think about and understand. Expert companies like SmartRink will do these calculations and design a proper system to provide you with trouble free operation over the long term with a view to temperature variables.

 

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Basement Synthetic Ice in Dream Home

SmartRink was very pleased to have been awarded the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery project including an Ottawa Senators “man cave” complete with a SmartRink basement synthetic ice rink.

basement synthetic ice rink, synthetic ice, smartrink synthetic ice

SmartRink Synthetic Ice Basement Rink

The man cave boasts an Ottawa Senators themed bar, games area and SmartRink synthetic ice surface – complete with locker room! The rink contains authentic hockey boards with acrylic glass to protect the walls and even a real life scoreboard. The wall mural is a Senators fan photo taken from a game.

The basement synthetic ice rink took about 2 days to complete. There were a few challenges but the installation team from SmartRink was up for the challenge.

SmartRink President Tim Oldfield said “it was only a small job but it had it’s particular challenges, mostly due to the room already being finished when we started the job. In the end everything came together nicely and both Minto and CHEO were fantastic to work with.”

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Ottawa Senators Themed Man Cave

CHEO synthetic ice rink

The CHEO Dream Home Lottery is a fundraiser for the Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

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Recreational Infrastructure

Recreational Infrastructure

Hockey on a SmartRink™ Community Ice Rink

Recreational Infrastructure in your Community.

Active people lead healthier, happier lives and have stronger connections to their communities. But, improved access to recreational infrastructure means more than just fit and healthy residents. It means more opportunities for social engagement, stronger community spirit and a boost to the economy by way of tourism, revitalization programs and additional revenue opportunities.

Did you know that recreation services are often seen as one of the most important factors in how appealing a community is to live in? Further more, the “equal access” nature of these facilities fosters a sense of inclusivity among community members. It promotes a sense of community pride and can even reduce criminal activity.

Despite the array of meaningful benefits, we see governments, at all levels, cutting back recreation budgets. So how do evolving communities and organizations keep up with growing recreational needs?

SmartRink™ has recently launched a turnkey program to get community rinks fully funded and installed. RinkFunder is an unique way to make lasting community improvements, with the addition of a year round premium skating experience –- fully funded all within 60 days.

SmartRink™ Community Rinks

Check out our community rink projects and ask how these innovative solutions can help you.

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