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The Development of Ice Rinks

Jan. 23, 2021

Like the air we breathe and the water we drink, it never brushes its presence, yet it has a pivotal place in our lives. It is the cornerstone of skating and the prerequisite for the existence of hockey. It is the solid support under the feet of hockey fans - the ice rink.

The development of ice rinks

Before artificial ice rinks, people only skated in the winter months when temperatures were low due to temperature restrictions.

Artificial ice rinks first appeared in London in the mid-1870s, using the more primitive technique of cooling the surface with glycerine and water through copper pipes.

Compared to the past, ice making technology has now improved dramatically and the process is much more efficient. Water and antifreeze are now mostly used to freeze the water through the refrigeration pipes.

In addition to ice production, the ice surface needs to be constantly maintained.Most ice rinks use ice grinding trucks. The ice grinding trucks first wash the ice, then scrape it, leaving a thin layer of water that eventually freezes to form a smoother surface.

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There are some slight differences in composition between ice at the rink and ice outdoors (antifreeze, etc.), but they don't affect much. When it comes to big competitions, however, the ice on the Olympic skating rink, for example, is much more demanding.

Every inch of the ice surface, which is larger than four standard basketball courts put together, has to be the same temperature, the same thickness, smooth and flat, and the right amount of softness.

The water used to make the ice at the Olympic rink is carefully prepared months in advance so that it is in optimum condition for icing.

The water here is not tap water, which is full of impurities, but pure water. Too much impurity can leave the ice with tiny fragile spots, which can easily affect the players' performance on the ice, while the purer the water, the smoother and more stable the ice will be.

The professional ice maker said: "At first, it was actually a concrete floor. We start by cooling this concrete until it gets down to a certain temperature, and then we start sprinkling water on it to create a lot of ice."

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