Ever since Hockey was invented in the mid-18th century, it has been considered the be one of the manliest sports to exist. Something about hitting around the puck on the ice while pummeling the other players really brings up imagery similar to the movie Braveheart. If you’re a fan of playing hockey, you’ve probably wondered at some point or another how you might be able to play it in your own home. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to do with hockey flooring. In just a few hours you could have your own little area set up so you can play hockey right in your own backyard.
Isn’t Hockey Flooring Just Well… Ice?
If you haven’t heard of hockey flooring before this could all come off as very confusing for you. After all, hockey is played on ice. That’s the way it’s always been, right? Well, not quite. Yes, that’s how it was originally played, and most hockey matches are played on true ice, but there have been advancements in the equipment available to hockey players looking to practice at home or in environments where a giant chunk of ice simply wouldn’t be feasible.
The two biggest alternatives that have come out are hockey flooring and synthetic ice. Hockey flooring is a piece of slick material that’s good for practicing hockey at home while you’re in your shoes or on inline skates. It’s designed to help the puck move around a lot like how it would on ice, but with a bit more drag making it great for training. If you can hit the puck well on hockey flooring, you can hit the puck well while you’re on the ice. Hockey flooring is never going to replace ice in actual matches, but it is a good thing to use if you need to train at home.
Synthetic ice, while it might sound a lot like hockey flooring, is something different altogether. It’s important that we go over the differences so we can be sure that you’re actually getting what you’re looking for. Hockey flooring and synthetic ice do have a few similarities. Both use interlocking tiles that can be arranged however you need to suit your space, and both are used for at-home training. That is where the similarities end. Synthetic ice is a solid polymer material that is specifically made to mimic regular ice.
It’s great for training because it doesn’t need to be kept cold for you to use it, but it doesn’t have as high of a glide factor as true ice. True ice melts a little bit because of the friction from your skates. That tiny layer of water is what makes it so easy to skate on ice. Most synthetic ice requires some kind of lubrication and does require cleaning over time because it can get dirty. If you want something that you can train on your feet in your ice skates, you’ll need synthetic ice. That’s specifically what it’s made for.
We won’t be going too much more into detail about synthetic ice in this article, but if that’s what you need you can definitely find more information about it readily available online. If after reading this section you’ve decided that hockey flooring is more up your alley, read on and we’ll give you more information about it.
How Hockey Flooring Can Help You Make Your Own Rink at Home
Training at home for hockey is always a challenge. Unless you live somewhere that always has frozen ponds, maybe in Fair Banks, Alaska, you probably don’t have a very easy time finding a place to train on the ice for cheap or free. This is a stark contrast to pretty much any other sport. Any park you go to probably has a basketball court, you can practice soccer on any stretch of grass, baseball players just need two people, a stick, and a ball, skateboarders just need some asphalt, the list goes on. The point is most people that play sports can find a solid place to practice by just stepping out their front door and looking around for no more than an hour. Hockey players, unfortunately, just don’t have that luxury.
If you want to practice hockey during the summer, you probably need to find an ice skating rink and pay for the admission. That’s really the only place you can practice if you want to get on the ice and get a good handle for the game, and even then you need to find somewhere that will allow you to bring your gear in and practice. That can be even more limiting if it’s the type of ice skating rink that people go to just leisurely skate. It makes some sense from the owner’s perspective, you can’t have someone aggressively skating around the rink while there are potentially children and elderly people trying to just have some fun on the ice.
One of the easiest solutions for this is hockey flooring. It allows you the feel of the ice for the puck and a bit of the slipperiness of ice without needing to find a frozen body of water to enjoy it. Hockey flooring is also good for nearly any temperature, although it may not be good to keep it out in the yard over summer if you live somewhere like Pheonix, Arizona. It’s not a certainty that it would melt, but if car tires are melting from the heat it’s probably safe to assume you shouldn’t leave it outside.
There are all sorts of drills you can easily do on hockey flooring. In fact, hockey flooring is excellent for getting better at stick handling and accuracy, as well as goalie practice. If you have two people and some hockey flooring, you can both get some good practice in for shooting. Figure 8s are a really good exercise to do on hockey flooring, and butterfly drills are, too. No matter what position you play on your team, you can find a good drill that will strengthen your skills.
How Hard is it to Acquire and Set Up Hockey Flooring?
If you’ve already been doing your research, or even if this is the first you’ve heard of hockey flooring and you’ve decided that it’s a match made in heaven, you probably want to know how hard it is to find. Fortunately, hockey flooring is actually very easy to acquire and there are lots of companies that would be happy to sell it to you and get it shipped right to your front door just as quickly as their shipping company will allow.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re getting something that’s good quality, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend a whole lot of money on it. A good rule of thumb that is mentioned when making any sort of investment is this: don’t buy the cheapest one, and don’t buy the most expensive one. The cheapest products are often cheap because they lack in quality, but the most expensive products often have features that you might not need. That’s why so many people recommend getting the middle ground, then you get the best for quality as well as price.
As far as installation, it couldn’t be easier. The first thing you’ll want to do is measure out your space and visualize the area where you want the hockey flooring to go. In most cases, each tile is about one square foot. It requires a little bit of math to get it right, but don’t worry too much. Even if math isn’t your strong suit you can pull it off, a square foot is just 12 inches by 12 inches, so you can easily find out the proper area for your rink to go just by taking the right amount of measurements.
Once you know where you want to put your hockey flooring in, all you need to do is install it. Most hockey flooring, as we may have mentioned, is made up of tiles that interlock. All you need to do is set the tiles up where you’ve decided you want the flooring to go. It’s a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but easier because you don’t need to match up the right pieces. Once you have it put together you’ll be ready to practice on it to your heart’s content.
Getting Your Home Ready for Hockey Training
There are a lot of things that you can do to prepare your home for hockey training. Hockey flooring, some basic gym equipment, and maybe a few cones is really all it takes to make sure you’re getting the training you need even in the middle of July. Whether you just like hockey training because of the exercise it provides or you’re on your way to getting the gold medal for your team, training is important for keeping your mind and your body sharp enough for any competition you may face in the upcoming season.