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  1. #1
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    NHL sized rink vs. Olympic sized rink

    Does anyone have a guesstimate on how often are international (ETA: figure) skating events held on NHL sized rinks (200 feet x 85 feet) instead of Olympic sized rinks (200 feet x 100 feet)?

    And how difficult is it for skaters training at Olympic sized rinks to adapt to narrower rink size? Thanks.
    Last edited by jjane45; 03-01-2013 at 05:39 AM.

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    Shouldn't this be in the Other Sports forum? It sounds like you are comparing hockey rinks.

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    Ideally all figure skating competitions should be held on Olympic sized rinks, but hockey rinks are also permitted for ISU championships, e.g. this year's World Championship in London, Canada. How difficult is this adjustment for the top skaters?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    How difficult is this adjustment for the top skaters?
    It depends entirely on what they're used to. I believe Olympic-sized rinks are more common in Europe, but they're definitely the minority of rinks in the US. When I skated in Ann Arbor, which has an Olympic-size rink, with some of the dance teams, they would put orange cones on the ice to mark off where the boards would be when preparing for a competition that would be held on a smaller rink.

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    Based on the number of skaters who have hit the walls over the years- it isn't that easy to adapt... (though based on the number who have managed not too- it isn't that hard either!)

    I am an adult skater and skate on an NHL rink. It is really hard to widen my program out to fill an Olympic rink. Dances and MITF seem like they would be harder to adapt, but our rink's ice is so crappy, and there is so nice, that I skate a lot faster on the Olympic rink, so those I can fill the rink okay. I doubt elite skaters have that issue, most probably train somewhere with decent ice, but ice quality is definetly something our synchro team always considered- if the step sequence had to be red line to red line, we knew if we could make it at home we'd hit the boards at competition, so we'd need to shorten it.

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    I believe that Torvill and Dean had to adapt their 1984 programs to accommodate the differential in the size of the rink at the World Championships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Based on the number of skaters who have hit the walls over the years- it isn't that easy to adapt... (though based on the number who have managed not too- it isn't that hard either!)
    LOL. I think at the speed they move across the ice, skaters hit the boards regardless of the rink's width
    Still not sure how frequently do hockey rinks get to host championship events...

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    I think usa nationals has been on NHL a number of times ( I recall Mirai blaming a wall hit on that). And wasn't there a fuss about the Vancouver Olympics being on an NHL rink? Or was that resolved before the competition?

    From a quick search it looks like 2009 worlds was on an NHL rink.

    I know usa regionals often has events on NHL rinks, though that is not championship.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    Still not sure how frequently do hockey rinks get to host championship events...
    The rink surfaces at large North American arenas are NHL (hockey) sized. So championships held in North America will typically be on NHL-sized rinks, though occasionally it may be possible to reconfigure to a larger ice surface for a major event (not usually practical or possible).

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    Having skated on both along with skaters better than me, my experience is that good skaters can make the adjustment fairly easily. Skaters with less power are going to have trouble filling up the bigger ice surface whether they normally practice on that surface or not.

    Most rinks in North America are NHL rinks. Or smaller. In fact, at this point, I think of Olympic rinks as being like clay courts in tennis -- the exception rather than the rule.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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    In North America there is no standard size for rinks even in the NHL. There are lots of 200X85, 100X200 and lots of smaller rinks in smaller towns and cities. (in Canada, thousands) Competitions for the youngest children to senior skaters are held in all size rinks depending on where they are being held. So skaters from a young age are exposed to all size rinks. Coaches know to train their competitors for the rink they will be competing in next. For example if a young skater usually trains in an Olympic size rink, the coach will draw a marker line down the ice at the 85' mark and the skater will practice their program without going over the line.
    Rinks have different shaped corners as well: some are round and wide and some are more angular and pushed in. It's not a big deal it's part of the sport. The higher level skaters know what to expect at a competition because they will have had practice on the rink they compete on, so there are no surprises. That's part of what practices are for. The hardest thing to adjust are compulsory dances patterns in younger skaters. (especially in the old days when there was a rule that the pattern could not cross the centre line)

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    Excellent summary, googooeyes. I would add that having these small rinks isn't even necessarily a small town thing. Here in the Bay Area we have all different sizes including a couple of smaller rinks as well as a bunch of standard NHL ones. I think our last Olympic rink shut down though (unless I'm forgetting one) when they shut down Berkeley Iceland.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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    Some commented that too many skaters crashed into the boards this year at Worlds in (fake) London. To what extent is it adjusting to the narrower rink size? I certainly hope no more international events are ever held at hockey rinks, ever!!
    Last edited by jjane45; 03-16-2013 at 05:15 AM.

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    Speaking as someone who used to compete and trained on an Olympic sized rink I speak from some background experience. I think of it as travelling economy or business class on a plane. . A bigger rink is just so much more comfortable. We would bring out the cones but it just isn't the same. Similarly training in a rink with no boards can be a whole other can of worms (I was part of an epic fail of a skate in an adult synchro team when we finally had to skate with boards).

    I would bet the skaters would opt for a larger rink any day. Especially these days with all the quads. They need that extra ice to get the speed needed to launch into those jumps. Most skaters just love to push things out, larger rinks allow for that. Even today many many years after my competitive days I still love to push hard and just skate.

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    Comfort has nothing to do it; it’s about skating on a rink size that is not only familiar but safe. It is definitely harder to scale down your program from Olympic size and hope you don’t hit the boards than practice the way you have learned it on an NHL size and know you won’t hit.

    Skaters who have choreography that goes from side to side and don’t have enough room to complete the program safely is at a severe disadvantage. It's happened already this week, thank heaven no one was hurt.

    I think if the ISU makes skaters skate on narrow rinks, they should allow much more practice time on the main rink or only use Olympic size ice. There must be enough Olympic size rinks in the world to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    There must be enough Olympic size rinks in the world to use.

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