Synthetic Ice Working Better for Hockey Players

Synthetic ice could be the way of the future for hockey enthusiasts.  The Florida Panthers held their first ever hockey clinic in Barbados using synthetic ice.  

Synthetic ice is a slick, high-tech plastic that can be skated on by regular ice skates.  It’s an easily regulated compound that can be set up and taken down anywhere, even Barbados.  The plastic ice mimics regular ice so well, most skaters can’t even tell the difference.  Since the ice is not real ice, the need for a Zamboni or any kind of temperature control is not necessary, making it a perfect rink for the Panthers in their tropical environment.

“It’s a little bit different skating on,” defenseman Alex Petrovic said in a video interview provided by the team. “But some of the kids that come here regularly are actually really good at skating on it. It took myself a couple minutes to get used to it, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

There are many synthetic ice skating rinks opening up all over the country, which is great news for people who enjoy skating during the summer months.  Many new skating enthusiast can also learn how to skate on a synthetic rink easier, since it isn’t as slick as regular ice rinks can be.  

“Because we’re in a room-temperature environment, it makes it more conducive and comfortable for beginning skaters,” said Carla Briccotto, the owner of Skate Unlimited. “There isn’t the need to bundle up and wear a helmet, so they learn quicker. When they fall, it honestly really doesn’t hurt. And when you stop moving your feet you stop moving, so they don’t have that overwhelming slipping feeling.”

There are companies who also bring the synthetic ice right to your door, so you can practice in the comfort of their own backyard.  It makes it ideal for hockey players who need to practice, but hate lugging all of their heavy gear to an ice rink, some of which are closed in the summertime.  

Synthetic ice is providing more than just convenience for hockey players and ice skaters.  It’s giving people who have never had the opportunity to enjoy these sports a chance to have fun and learn something new.

“I still can’t really wrap my mind around the concept of it,” rookie defenseman Ian McCoshen said. “We’re in the Caribbean and they have a synthetic ice rink here. It’s pretty surreal.

“We’ve got some locals that were willing and challenging themselves to play hockey for the first time. There’s a few that can skate and have some skill.”

Would you give synthetic ice a shot?