Ice Hockey Rink – Diagram With Sizes and Dimensions

Ice hockey rink diagram

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Ice Hockey Rinks: What You Need to Know

There are actually a lot more ice hockey fans than you might imagine. In fact, ice hockey is certainly among the top ten sports on a global scale. Northern American countries such as Canada and USA follow the sport. Then you have European nations such as Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, and others that are also avid fans of the icy game. This sport is played on a unique playing surface that not many people know all that much about. This article takes a closer look at all of the elements that make up an ice hockey rink:

The Dimensions of an Ice Hockey Rink

There are two reigning authorities when it comes to ice hockey and by association ice hockey rinks. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the worldwide governing body and overlooks major and global championships. Then you have the National Hockey League that has independent teams in the USA and Canada.

So, let’s take a look at the dimensions of an IIHF-regulated rink. The entire length of the rink measures 61 meters, with the width measuring 30 meters. These are maximum dimensions allowed by the IIHF. The minimum dimensions is a rink that is 56 meters long and 26m wide. However, it is insisted that for IIHF competitions that the rinks be at least 60 meters long and 29 meters wide.

You will notice that an ice hockey rink is curved – it is not a typical rectangle shape of a sports court. For rinks that are constructed according to the max dimensions, these arcs have a radius of 8.5m. The smaller rinks have a radius of 7m.

There are five main lines on an ice hockey rink. The main one is drawn in red at the very center of the rink. The center line runs parallel to the two goal lines that are also drawn in red. However, the center line is 30cm thick while the goal lines are just 5cm thick. On either side of the center line, there are two blue lines, also of 30cm thickness. The distance between these lines measures at 17.66m. There is also a 17.66m distance between the blue lines and each of their goal lines.

On the center line, there is a circle around a dot. This is known as the center face off spot and circle. The blue spot is 30cm in diameter. The circle surrounding the dot has a radius of 4.5m or a diameter of 9.14m. There are face off spots and circles in the end zone as well which are the same diameter (9.14m) as the center circle. The spots in the middle of these circles, however are larger.

There are also spots in the neutral zone – outlined by the blue lines. They are the same diameter as those in the end zone. These spots are 13.41m away from one another and 1.5m away from each blue line.

The goal line is located 4m away from the outermost edge of the court. The goal itself is 1.82m wide with a height of 1.22m. The goal crease, which is the semi-circle drawn on the goal line has a radius of 1.8.

Due to the nature of the game, there are structures walling off all sides of the hockey rink. The bottommost parts are known as boards and these rise between 1.17m and 1.22m above the ground. Above this is the protective glass. On the length from the goal line to the neutral zone, the glass is between 1.6m and 2m high. Along the sides, the glass is between 0.8m and 1.2m.

What is an Ice Hockey Rink Made Up Of?

At first glance, this can seem like a silly question. After all, an ice hockey rink is made up of ice… it’s even in the name of the game! Have you ever stopped to think about just how this is managed, however? Just imagine all of that ice being created and then maintained for extended periods of time. All while aggressive hockey players skate over it, tussle, and shoot pucks across the icy floor.

The very first layer of an ice hockey is made up of either concrete or sand. Within this layer, there are pipes. These pipes are responsible for ensuring that the layers above it remain in the form of ice. Water along with either refrigerant, salt brine, or even antifreeze passes through these pipes.

First, a thin layer of water is sprayed onto this sand or concrete layer. This forms a sort of seal on top. Once this water has frozen, the markings of the hockey field are painted on it. Insignias and team names may also be included. After this, more water is sprayed on top and then allowed to freeze. The entire rink should be covered in a layer of ice which will be between 1.9cm and 3.8cm thick.

It is not just a matter of creating the rink, however. People also have to maintain it. This is done with the help of an on-ice vehicle, much like the beloved Zamboni. What this vehicle does is to first ‘wash’ the ice. After this, it shaves the ice to help it stay nice and smooth so that the puck can easily glide across it.

The Evolution of the Ice Hockey Rink

As with all sports that have their beginnings rooted in ancient civilizations, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location where it began. In the 1600s various versions of this game were played on ice in the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland. It was also found that Native Americans in South Dakota, USA played a form of lacrosse on the ice.

Now, these first sports were all played on natural bodies of water such as lakes and ponds that had frozen over on their own accord. Therefore, these sports could only be played in the wintertime, when the temperatures were low enough.

Even after indoor ice skating rinks were introduced in London in the 1870s, the game was still held outdoors. This was largely due to the fast moving puck that could easily fly off the surface of the ice. These first ice rinks were kept frozen with a mixture of water and glycerin passing through copper pipes beneath the ice’s surface. It was not until around 1875 that ice hockey games were brought indoors.

Playing Courts Similar to Ice Hockey

Due to the unique nature of ice hockey rinks, they don’t really share too many similarities with other playing surfaces. Of course, ordinary ice skating rinks are often turned into hockey rinks, provided that the dimensions make this possible.

However, what you might not know is that there are many basketball courts that also function as ice hockey rinks and vice versa. One of the most examples is Staples Center in Los Angeles which is home the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and the LA Kings. It got particularly intense in 2012 when all three teams made it to the championships at the same time. Over the course of 72 hours, the court had to be reverted into a hockey rink and then back again several times.

The entire process takes between two to three hours to happen. The ice hockey rink is maintained below the basketball courts. A certain temperature and indoor climate must be maintained to keep everything in balance.

So, there you have it – everything that you need to know about an ice hockey rink. Hopefully, it has been an illuminating read for you.


Last updated on November 24, 2017

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