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Rink size history

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Old
10-25-2010, 07:42 AM
  #1
Petey21
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Rink size history

Does anyone know when and why the rink sizes in North America and Europe became different from each other? From what I've read organized hockey was "born" at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in 1875 and the rink dimensions were 204 feet (62 m) by 80 feet (24 m), which is pretty close to those of the NHL which are 200 feet (61 m) by 85 feet (26 m).

But then somehow the rink sizes in Europe are 61 metres (200 ft) x 30 metres (98 ft), but I can't seem to find any info on when and why this size was adopted in Europe. Someone on some other board even claimed that this is the original size of a hockey rink, but I highly doubt that. So can anyone with knowledge clarify the history of the rink size?

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10-25-2010, 07:56 AM
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Alpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petey21 View Post
Does anyone know when and why the rink sizes in North America and Europe became different from each other? From what I've read organized hockey was "born" at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in 1875 and the rink dimensions were 204 feet (62 m) by 80 feet (24 m), which is pretty close to those of the NHL which are 200 feet (61 m) by 85 feet (26 m).

But then somehow the rink sizes in Europe are 61 metres (200 ft) x 30 metres (98 ft), but I can't seem to find any info on when and why this size was adopted in Europe. Someone on some other board even claimed that this is the original size of a hockey rink, but I highly doubt that. So can anyone with knowledge clarify the history of the rink size?
Then there's lots of community rinks in Canada that are 175 x 65 or 185 x 75 built up untill the late 80's.
It was a big deal in some towns when new rinks were built that they were NHL size rinks.
In the Q there's some 185 x 75, some 200 x 80 and some 200 x 100.
But I'm talking community rinks that tend to also have Ringette lines and goal creases along the boards in the 3 zones for Timbit or novice, beginner hockey.
You hope and pray your team's ice time isn't right after the Figure skaters or the Speed skaters chew up the ice.


Last edited by Alpine: 10-25-2010 at 08:38 AM.
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Old
10-26-2010, 02:53 PM
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I'm no expert on the subject, but I'm inclined to think that the difference in rink sizes is just a result of two different sets of regulations (NHL and International) developing independently of each other, instead of being merged under one set of universal rules and regulations. Much in the same way that Canadian and American Football have different field dimensions and different rules from one another. The two games just evolved seperately.

Again, I could be wrong, but, I believe the 200' x 85' rink was originally regulated by either the NHA, the PCHL, or the NHL (or perhaps an earlier predecessor of those pro leagues). And then other North American leagues conformed to that rink size. Meanwhile, across the pond the IIHF independently regulated the 200' x 98' rink, and in Europe it became the standard.

But as Alpine said, there are all sorts of different sized rinks wherever you go. Many U.S. Colleges employ the IIHF dimensions. The NHL has only fully regulated the 200' x 85' rink in the last 15 years. I believe the Boston Garden was the last of the old, smaller rinks.

I personally do not like that the NHL has regulated this. There was a romantic charm to those old rinks, much like you see in baseball stadiums. Each rink had it's own unique characteristics. The new rinks are all the same. It's kind of boring.

But if I had to pick between the NHL and IIHF configurations, I'd say NHL all the way. having an extra 7 feet on the outside of the faceoff circles has always seemed pointless to me. The slightly-more-confined space makes for better hockey.

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10-27-2010, 06:30 AM
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Really only NHLand maybe AHL has regulation size 200x85 but like I said community rinks are all over the place.
Depends on if shaving a few feet will save enough $ to get the rink built or not in smaller communities. An undersized rink is still better than no rink,
An intereresting trend is to build 2 pads with an NHL rink and a Olympic rink.
Moncton area has one, Campbellton NB has one (or both maybe 200x100) and this in Fredericton's paper this AM on the new Grant-Harvey Centre which will have both NHL and Olympic.

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/f...rticle/1280614

I'm with johnnycanuck I like the variety of ice sizes it adds charm to the game at the lower levels.
As far as I know Hockey Canada has nothing to say about ice sizes in the rules but have notations in the rules about zone, goal line sizes/depths to accomadate different sizes.
The idea of a standard size is a relativly new concept in Canada and almost impossible to enforce outside of NHL arenas.
I'd say most Canadian players have played on all kinds of ice sizes before reaching the top pro levels


Last edited by Alpine: 10-27-2010 at 07:10 AM.
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10-28-2010, 11:44 AM
  #5
Theokritos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petey21 View Post
Does anyone know when and why the rink sizes in North America and Europe became different from each other? From what I've read organized hockey was "born" at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in 1875 and the rink dimensions were 204 feet (62 m) by 80 feet (24 m), which is pretty close to those of the NHL which are 200 feet (61 m) by 85 feet (26 m).

But then somehow the rink sizes in Europe are 61 metres (200 ft) x 30 metres (98 ft), but I can't seem to find any info on when and why this size was adopted in Europe. Someone on some other board even claimed that this is the original size of a hockey rink, but I highly doubt that. So can anyone with knowledge clarify the history of the rink size?
I doubt that there is one "original" rink size. When the New York Americans entered the NHL in 1925/26, the newly built Madison Square Garden provided them with what was considered a large rink at that time: 186 x 85 feet (=56.7 x 25.9 meter). I don't know when the NHL decided to recommend 200x85, but in the late 50's this norm was already in place. The MSG, of course, only received its 200x85 rink when it was rebuilt in 1968, and the Boston Bruins continued to play on a undersized (191x83) rink until the Boston Garden was finally replaced in 1995.

Regarding the IIHF ("LIHG" from 1908-1946), here's the data I could find around the Internet, concerning rink sizes in early international tournaments:
1920 Winter Olympics in Antwerp: 56 x 18 meter (183.7 x 59.1 feet).
1923: LIHG rules that rinks should measure 80x40 m (optimum? maximum?).
1924 European Championship in Milan: 75 x 45 m (246.1 x 147.6 f)
1925: LIHG rules that rinks must measure at least 50 x 18 m, optimal size is 56 x 26 m.
1931 World Cup in Krynica: 60 x 40 m (196.9 x 131.2 f)
1933: LIHG rules that rinks must not measure over 76 x 33,5 m.
1936: LIHG rules that rinks should measure 60x30 m.

Not a coherent answer, but all that I could find out.

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10-28-2010, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
Really only NHLand maybe AHL has regulation size 200x85 but like I said community rinks are all over the place.
Depends on if shaving a few feet will save enough $ to get the rink built or not in smaller communities. An undersized rink is still better than no rink,
An intereresting trend is to build 2 pads with an NHL rink and a Olympic rink.
Moncton area has one, Campbellton NB has one (or both maybe 200x100) and this in Fredericton's paper this AM on the new Grant-Harvey Centre which will have both NHL and Olympic.

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/f...rticle/1280614

I'm with johnnycanuck I like the variety of ice sizes it adds charm to the game at the lower levels.
As far as I know Hockey Canada has nothing to say about ice sizes in the rules but have notations in the rules about zone, goal line sizes/depths to accomadate different sizes.
The idea of a standard size is a relativly new concept in Canada and almost impossible to enforce outside of NHL arenas.
I'd say most Canadian players have played on all kinds of ice sizes before reaching the top pro levels
Very true. Short Track Speed Skating is driving this trend.

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10-28-2010, 02:52 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petey21 View Post
Does anyone know when and why the rink sizes in North America and Europe became different from each other? From what I've read organized hockey was "born" at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in 1875 and the rink dimensions were 204 feet (62 m) by 80 feet (24 m), which is pretty close to those of the NHL which are 200 feet (61 m) by 85 feet (26 m).

But then somehow the rink sizes in Europe are 61 metres (200 ft) x 30 metres (98 ft), but I can't seem to find any info on when and why this size was adopted in Europe. Someone on some other board even claimed that this is the original size of a hockey rink, but I highly doubt that. So can anyone with knowledge clarify the history of the rink size?
The original "rink" was an outside lake or pond. I don't know hte measurements.

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10-28-2010, 07:02 PM
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johnnycanuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Regarding the IIHF ("LIHG" from 1908-1946), here's the data I could find around the Internet, concerning rink sizes in early international tournaments:
1920 Winter Olympics in Antwerp: 56 x 18 meter (183.7 x 59.1 feet).
1923: LIHG rules that rinks should measure 80x40 m (optimum? maximum?).
1924 European Championship in Milan: 75 x 45 m (246.1 x 147.6 f)
1925: LIHG rules that rinks must measure at least 50 x 18 m, optimal size is 56 x 26 m.
1931 World Cup in Krynica: 60 x 40 m (196.9 x 131.2 f)
1933: LIHG rules that rinks must not measure over 76 x 33,5 m.
1936: LIHG rules that rinks should measure 60x30 m.
75m long? Damn, I would be dead after trying to play a game on a rink that size. That's crazy!

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10-29-2010, 07:27 AM
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Theokritos
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Originally Posted by johnnycanuck View Post
75m long? Damn, I would be dead after trying to play a game on a rink that size. That's crazy!
Contrast that with the 1913 European Championship in Munich: The rink was 40 x 16 m.

It's obvious that in those early days the International Federation was not in a position to make orders, they were just happy to have ice to play on. A very small rink in Munich, a very large rink in Milan, whatever was available. There wasn't much of a choice.

On the long run of course, the vast differences in rink size weren't satisfying and an international standard was defined and enforced. That the NHL did not care for this standard when it developed its own norm is not a big surprise: Until 1977, LIHG/IIHF-championships were for amateur players only (of course, European elite players soon became pros de facto, but they remained amateurs de jure), pro hockey was a different world, thus a pro league like the NHL had no reason to strive for accordance with the IIHF standard = international amateur standard.

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12-22-2013, 10:40 AM
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I would be interested in hearing some of the old timer talk regarding different rink sizes in the old buildings and how it affected play.

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12-24-2013, 12:29 AM
  #11
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Originally Posted by johnnycanuck View Post
Again, I could be wrong, but, I believe the 200' x 85' rink was originally regulated by either the NHA, the PCHL, or the NHL (or perhaps an earlier predecessor of those pro leagues). And then other North American leagues conformed to that rink size. Meanwhile, across the pond the IIHF independently regulated the 200' x 98' rink, and in Europe it became the standard.
The 200'x85' rink was standardized by the NHL in 1929. The older rinks before then were all about the same size—Ottawa Auditorium was 200x80 as was Dey's Arena before it, Mutual Street Arena in Toronto was 200x80 and so too was Hamilton's Barton Street Arena. Westmount Arena in Montreal was 200x85 and the Forum was too. When the Bruins joined the NHL in 1924 they played at Boston Arena (still standing and known today as Matthews Arena), which was 200x80 as well. Pittsburgh's Duquesne Gardens was capable of hosting an enormous sheet well over 200' long but it was reduced to 200' when the Pirates began playing there.

The first building that was smaller was Madison Square Garden. The third building to bear the name, opened in 1925 to host the Americans, had a surface only 186' long (by 86' wide). It was designed primarily as a boxing venue. Teams were added in Chicago and Detroit and they would build new arenas too. Detroit's Olympia was 200'x83' but Chicago Stadium was only 188' long, and Boston's new Garden was 191'x83'. Rather than allow arena-builders to come up with their own (smaller) sizes the NHL codified the 200'x85' size in 1929, following the example set by the Westmount Arena and Montreal Forum. Maple Leaf Gardens and every arena built for an NHL team since has been 200'x85'.

Quote:
I believe the Boston Garden was the last of the old, smaller rinks.
The Aud in Buffalo was 196'x85' (and not built for NHL hockey), and was used by the Sabres until 1996. It just barely beat out Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium for the title of "last of the old, smaller rinks".

(FYI Pittsburgh Civic Arena (which was also not built for NHL hockey) was 205x85 when it opened; it wasn't reduced to 200x85 until 1974. The only other arena I know of off the top of my head that was used for NHL hockey and didn't meet the 200'x85' standard was the Cow Palace in Daly City, California; the Sharks' first home was only 185'x85'.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
As far as I know Hockey Canada has nothing to say about ice sizes in the rules but have notations in the rules about zone, goal line sizes/depths to accomadate different sizes.
On the contrary, one of the very first rules in the book is rink size. You're right that the rules about where to mark the zone lines and such are written to accommodate different rink sizes but the rules (for new arena construction) are that the maximum is 200x100 and minimum is 200x85. The CAHA, forerunner of Hockey Canada, adopted 200x85 as its recommended size in 1938.


For the record the IIHF rule book doesn't have a hard, set size. It calls for a maximum of 61 m by 30 m (a little over 200'-1" by 98'-5") and minimum of 56 m by 26 m (~183'-9" x 85'-3"). Anything in between is acceptable, but IIHF-sanctioned competitions are supposed to be held on surfaces 60-61 m long by 29-30 m wide.

Not every country outside of North America follows the IIHF 60x30 rules. In Finland for example most arenas are 58 m x 28 m (about 190'x91'-10").

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