How Do Hockey Arenas Make Ice

Hockey arenas make ice by following a precise process that involves several steps. Here are 5 supporting facts about how hockey arenas make ice:
1. Building the base: The first step in making ice in a hockey arena is building the base. This involves creating a strong foundation with concrete or another solid material to ensure stability and prevent any heat from below disrupting the freezing process.

2. Cooling system: Once the base is prepared, the cooling system is installed. Most modern hockey arenas use a network of pipes under the ice surface to circulate a chilled glycol solution. This system helps maintain a consistently cold temperature throughout the ice.

3. Water application: After the cooling system is in place, water is carefully sprayed onto the surface. Multiple layers of water are applied to create a thick ice surface. Each layer is allowed to freeze before the next one is added.

4. Paint and markings: Once a solid ice layer is established, the arena staff may use special non-toxic paint to add markings, such as the lines and logos, to the ice surface. This paint is specifically designed to adhere to the ice and withstand the skating and scraping during games.

5. Regular maintenance: After the ice is made, regular maintenance is essential to keep it in top condition. This includes resurfacing the ice between games or during intermissions, removing any impurities or rough spots, and ensuring the ice remains at the correct temperature.


1. How long does it take to make ice in a hockey arena?
– The length of time required to make ice in a hockey arena depends on several factors, such as the size of the arena and the cooling system used. On average, it can take anywhere from 2 to 3 days to create a solid ice surface.

2. What temperature is maintained under the ice surface?
– The ideal temperature maintained under the ice surface is around 16 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -4 degrees Celsius). This temperature range helps ensure the ice remains solid and provides the best conditions for gameplay.

3. Why is a glycol solution used for cooling?
– A glycol solution, which is a mixture of water and an antifreeze compound, is used for cooling because it has a lower freezing point compared to plain water. This allows the cooling system to maintain a consistently cold temperature and prevent the ice from melting.

4. Is the ice surface always flat and smooth?
– While the goal is to create a flat and smooth ice surface, it is not always perfect due to various factors. Skating, scraping, and occasional imperfections can cause small bumps or divots. Regular maintenance, such as resurfacing, helps to ensure a smooth playing surface.

5. Can the ice surface be adjusted for different events?
– Yes, hockey arenas have the capability to adjust the ice surface for different events. For example, the boards and glass around the rink can be rearranged or removed for figure skating competitions or other non-hockey events, altering the dimensions and layout of the ice accordingly.

6. How is the temperature of the ice surface monitored?
– Temperature sensors are strategically placed under the ice surface to monitor and regulate its temperature. These sensors provide real-time data to the arena staff, allowing them to make any necessary adjustments to the cooling system to maintain the desired temperature.

7. Can the ice in a hockey arena melt during a game?
– It is highly unlikely for the ice in a hockey arena to melt during a game, given the low temperature it is maintained at and the continuous circulation of the chilled glycol solution. However, in rare cases of a malfunction in the cooling system or power failure, the ice could start to melt gradually.

Creating ice in a hockey arena involves a carefully planned process that includes building a solid base, installing a cooling system, applying multiple layers of water, and regular maintenance. It takes time, expertise, and the correct temperature conditions to produce the ideal playing surface for hockey games.