Whether you are practicing with your team or just trying to perfect skills on your own or with your buddies, ideally you can always have a decent ice surface available to skate on.
But that just isn’t practical all the time. Sure if you live in Canada or northern parts of the US you may have access to both indoor and outdoor rinks for a decent time during the year. But even then what about in the spring and summer? Or perhaps you live in an area where ice rinks are for-profit businesses and ice time costs money.
Then there are those who live in part of the Sunbelt where hockey has been growing in recent decades such as in Texas, Florida or Southern California. There may be a very limited number of ice facilities available further increasing costs and decreasing availability and there is absolutely no chance of skating outdoors even in the winter in some of the extreme southern portions of the US.
So what alternatives are there for working on your skills?
Most off-ice training is performed with a variety of surfaces such as bare concrete or pavement, shooting pads and mats, dryland flooring tiles or a slideboard. None of these accommodate using your ice skates. Perhaps you can come close to ice skating conditions with roller blades or using a slideboard in your socks, but it just isn’t the same as ice. And other surfaces can only be utilized in sneakers. Furthermore, you may need to utilize different types of pucks and balls on these surfaces, that while they have benefits area also not identical to a puck on the ice.
Well there is one alternative that comes very close to an ice surface for skating, puck handling and shooting and that is synthetic ice. Synthetic ice surfaces have actually been available for quite a number of years. But there have been problems with the cost and maintenance of these surfaces as well as the rapid damage they could cause to skate blades. In recent years, technological advances especially those found in the Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice available from HockeyShot.com have made owning synthetic ice less of a headache, providing a better near ice experience and less damage to ice skates than older and even contemporary technologies.
With a synthetic ice surface, especially when combined with other tools such as danglers, passing kits or a net you can work on:
- Skating - start/stop, turning, backwards skating
So what are some reasons why you would want to consider synthetic ice? Here are some:
- Mimics real ice but takes a little more effort
- Provides an ice like experience where it isn't possible to acquire ice time
- A less costly alternatice to real ice
- Won't damage skates like older technologies
- Available in a variety of sizes and configurations
#1 - Mimics real ice but takes a little more effort
Synthetic ice isn’t as smooth as real ice and therefore is more resistant against skate blades (friction). So this means that it takes a little more effort than skating on a real ice surface. The benefit is that it makes you work harder to skate and that will translate into an easier experience on real ice. But the degree of friction with the Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice is less than any other product on the market making it as close to real ice as possible.
#2 - Provides an ice like experience where it isn't possible to acquire ice time
This is one of the most important reasons for using synthetic ice. There are times where your access to ice is going to be limited by availability and/or cost especially if you live in warm weather climates. Synthetic ice is the next best thing. It can set up in a basement, a garage or even on a smooth outdoor surface.
#3 - A less costly alternative to real ice
Keeping an ice rink going is an expensive proposition. Synthetic ice does not require compressors and maintaining the temperature and humidity are not an issue either. Thus it is possible to install synthetic ice in a variety of indoor settings including basements and garages in residential settings or perhaps in a warehouse for commercial uses. Instead of using a Zamboni a vacuum cleaner can pick up the miniscule shavings left behind after use.
#4 - Won't damage skates like older technologies
Advances in the types of materials used in the manufacturing of synthetic ice both make the surface easier to maintain and reduce the wear on skate blades from comparable technologies in the past. Older synthetic surfaces required the application of liquid or wax between uses to reduce friction between the surface and skate blades. But with the Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice this is no longer required. A self-lubricating agent was added to the surface during manufacturing that eliminates the need to further maintenance after use.
#5 - Available in a variety of sizes and configurations
Synthetic ice comes in a variety of different sized panels as well as different thicknesses of the surface to fit your needs both in terms of the available floor space as well as options for pricing. Panels are easy to install and can be purchased in quantities to fit the dimensions of your practice area. All that is needed for installation is a mallet.
HockeyShot Synthetic Ice
Take home-ice advantage to a whole new level with HockeyShot's Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice, the closest surface to real ice on the market.