Many ice skaters and hockey players alike are looking towards synthetic ice as a solution to their need to ice skate. With the world on lockdown behind the pandemic, it is great to know that there is an option available for people to ice skate and continue to practice ice hockey in their own homes. As amazing as synthetic ice is, it is best to know a few facts about it and what it is.
There is another type of hockey flooring that is popular today known as dryland hockey flooring. People tend to confuse the two, so we have created an article that will explain the differences, and which one is better.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Synthetic ice was first developed in the 1960s so that people could enjoy ice skating during the summer months and without having to keep a whole arena refrigerated in order to do so. At first, it was a bit of a problem for most of the skaters because the flooring had to be continually lubricated in order for people to skate across it. Back then, the types of plastics that were available were not near the quality of the plastics that are around today. Synthetic iced is made from a special, durable polymer that allows for a self-sustained lubricant to be administered as skaters skate across the surface. Artificial ice flooring is almost as good as real ice flooring today. Science and technology have come a long way since the ‘60s.
What is Dryland Hockey Flooring?
Dryland hockey flooring is made out of a special polymer as well, but it has different properties than synthetic ice flooring. Dryland flooring, also known as slick tiles, is engineered so that hockey pucks can glide across them in the same manner as they would glide across the ice. They are not made, however, for ice skates. Dryland hockey tiles are great for practicing with a shooting tarp or practicing passes on a hockey rebounder, but you can not ice skate on them. The largest difference between the two types of flooring is the way that they can be used.
Dryland Tiles vs. Synthetic Ice Tiles
Besides the biggest issue between the two types of flooring, you can’t ice skate on dryland flooring, there are a few other differences as well. Synthetic ice is typically more expensive than dryland tiles. Although both are great hockey flooring solutions, it takes a bit more engineering to produce a type of flooring that can continually withstand ice skates and be able to produce its own lubricant. However, if you would prefer to rollerblade while you play or practice hockey, you will be better off with dryland tiles because you can’t rollerblade on synthetic ice. Imagine how it would be to try and rollerblade on a real ice rink. Pretty tough, huh? Of course, there are people that are highly skilled and could easily maneuver a pair of rollerblades over a slick rink of ice, but not everybody has that type of skill. Tennis shoes and roller blades are great for slick tiles. Ice skates are exclusively for ice or synthetic ice.
Which Flooring is Better?
The type of flooring that would be best for an individual would depend on the needs of the person. Obviously, if you want to ice skate, you would need to use synthetic ice. If you tried to use ice skates on the dryland flooring it could end up like trying to ice skate on your kitchen floor. If you prefer to rollerblade then dryland tiles would definitely be the best choice. Either way, the important thing is that you continue to practice and to stay in good shape. Don’t let this pandemic keep you from having fun.