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The Science of Ice (Hockey)

Making ice in an indoor rink is really pretty incredible. In order to freeze the inch of water necessary, a series of pipes lie beneath the surface where a non-freezing liquid is kept refrigerated and constantly circulated. This cold brinewater, as the substance is often called, brings the temperature of the water below freezing in order create a solid skating surface. The video below provides some additional detail to the process.

Once the rink is finished, the process shifts from creation to monitorization. Even a single degree change in ice temperature can create an entirely new surface for skating. A harder, colder ice is preferred by hockey players because the puck they use can glide more evenly over it. However, a warm, softer ice is preferential to figure skaters to help provide a stronger ‘edge’ to the blade on its surface. The humidity in the building can also play a critical factor. If the level becomes too high a fog can develop over the ice creating dangerous conditions for everyone involved.

While the temperature inside the arena certainly has an obvious effect on the overall quality of the rink, the conditions outside can be equally important. This past June a local indoor rink in Boise suffered from melting issues due to the triple digit heat that was going on outdoors. That heat was finding its way into the arena and made it more difficult for the surface to remain solidified. In the end, they were forced to cancel or reschedule a number of their events during the heat wave.

The effect that even the slightest variation of internal and external conditions can have on a sheet of ice makes it imperative for changes to be tracked on a regular basis. This could have allowed the team in Boise to more quickly identify where the hotspots were located within the arena. That would have been important, because even though those who ran the rink didn’t have to worry about melting in the triple digit heat, their ice certainly did.

If you’re interested in learning more about products that can help you monitor both the temperature and humidity of your structure, please visit or call 1-800-757-3747 for information today.