Do you want to know what the hockey rink dimensions are at a particular rink? Or maybe you just want to know what ice rink dimensions are in general.
In this article, we’re going to cover exactly that for you. We’ll also cover other helpful information you should know about hockey rink sizes.
What are the dimensions of a hockey rink?
The two most common ice rink dimensions in the world are standard NHL size & Olympic size ice surfaces.
In North America, it’s most common to play on ice surfaces that are close to NHL size.
In Europe, Olympic size ice surfaces are dominant across the entire continent. Due to this, most hockey overseas in Europe is played on Olympic sheets.
If you were to measure the ice at your local rink though, you may find that the actual rink dimensions are a blend of the two.
Let’s get into the specifics…
NHL Hockey Rink Dimensions
The standard NHL size rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.
A saying you’ll occasionally hear in the hockey world from juniors up to the pros is “they play a great 200 foot game.” The length of a hockey rink is where that term stems from.
Unless the rink is clearly defined to be an NHL sized ice rink, the rink may be a bit smaller or larger than these exact specs.
Chances are though…it’s pretty close.
Olympic Hockey Rink Dimensions
How big is an Olympic size hockey rink?
Another good question (must have a high hockey IQ).
A standard Olympic ice rink is slightly less than 200 feet long and 97-100 feet wide (60 meters x 30 meters).
In comparison to NHL sized rinks, Olympic ice surfaces are much wider.
Olympic VS NHL rink dimensions
It may seem like a subtle difference, but that added 13-15 feet of width on an Olympic sheet has a large impact on the way the game is played (for players and goalies alike).
Offensive players have more room to skate and create chances.
Defensive players have more space to defend.
Goaltenders must adjust positioning based on their angles and be more patient on plays laterally in zone.
Based on your own preferences as a hockey player, you may prefer one rink size over the other. The dimensions (length/width) are the main difference between the two.
Additional Hockey Rink Variables To Consider
Beyond just the length and width dimensions of an ice hockey rink that we covered above, there's also a few other variables to consider which can effect play.
We’ll cover a few of those quickly below…
Size of the Neutral Zone
The size of the neutral zone at an arena can play a subtle role in how the game is played at that particular rink.
For example, a rink with a tighter neutral zone means the blue lines are a bit closer together. This leaves less neutral zone ice and a bit more in zone on the blue line for defenders.
Within the neutral zone itself, where the team benches are placed can also impact line changes and whether guys jump, use a door, and so on.
For recreational teams, this likely doesn't have a big impact...for junior, college hockey, minor league pro hockey leagues, and up...it certainly does.
Face off Dots
If you’ve played hockey for any length of time, you’ve definitely been to a rink or 2 over the years with oddly placed face-off dots.
As we said above in the last section....it's generally a non-factor. At the higher levels though, it might impact coaching strategy on face-off setups a tad (in both zones).
As you go from one rink to the next, you’ll see three major differences in hockey rink boards.
- curve of the boards (throughout the rink)
- elasticity (how much boards do or don’t move)
Curve of the Boards
Some rinks have shallow corners behind the net….while others are as deep as a swimming pool.
Height of the boards
The height of boards (and glass) is a noteworthy part of the rink to be aware of as a player/coach as it can impact play in all zones from shooting the puck off the glass to rimming the puck in the o-zone.
Your typical ice rink board height will sit somewhere between the 40 and 48 inches range (100-120 cm).
Elasticity of the Boards (aka give)
As a player, you probably want to be aware of how much give the boards at a rink have.
Well it's likely you'll run into them at some point whether it's accidental or battling in the corner throughout a game.
It'd be good to know how much they do (or don't) move. Right?
It may vary from one side of the rink to another, but it’s easy to see how boards move based on seeing a few hits off the boards during play.
Tip: jump into them at a light speed in warm ups if you need.
In closing, we hope you were able to learn a new fact or 2 about hockey rink dimensions.
If you're a player who believes you have the ability and motivation to play hockey competitively across the pond in Europe, feel free to reach out to us.
We focus solely on doing just that!