Tri-City Storm Hockey

Today is:

                                               Indoor Ice

        Hockey originated as an outdoor sport and in colder climates continues to be played outdoors. When was the ice brought indoors? When was the first indoor hockey game played?

        The first indoor ice arena opened in London, England, in 1876. It was called the Glaciarium. Three years later the United States opened its first indoor ice rink at Madison Square Gardens. But these were just ice skating rinks.

        The real first belongs to Canada where the first indoor ice hockey game was played on March 3, 1875. This game took place in Montreal at the Victoria Skating Rink. There were nine members on each team. They used the same kind of sticks and skates that were used outdoors, but the puck was made of wood.

        Victoria Ice Skating Rink was 204 feet long and 80 feet wide. The ice was surrounded by a 10-foot wide platform built a foot above ice level. Spectators could sit here or the skaters could rest.

                                                               Victoria Rink
                                                  1893 hockey game at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada

        Modern day arenas and successful indoor hockey games got started in Canada in the early 1900’s when the Patrick brothers created hockey leagues. They opened their first arena in Victoria, Canada, on Christmas Day in 1912. It cost $110,000 and had a seating capacity of 4,000. A few days later they opened a second one in Vancouver. It cost $210,000 and would seat 10,000 people. They then proceeded to build more arenas across the northwestern United States and western Canada. Today, of course, a new arena costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

                                                     Some Facts about the Ice
        The world’s first ice surface to be frozen by mechanical means was the Glaciarium in London England. This modern marvel, built in 1876 by John Gamgee, was accomplished by an indirect refrigeration system utilizing glycerin as the secondary coolant and ether as the primary coolant

        The system for keeping the ice on the floor of an arena is basically a huge refrigerator. It works on the same principal anyway.

        “The main difference in an ice rink, other than sheer size, is that the refrigerant doesn't cool the ice directly. Instead, it cools brinewater, a calcium-chloride solution, which is pumped through an intricate system of pipes underneath the ice. In most rinks, the pipes are embedded in a concrete or sand base”
(1) Or now it may be glycol which is antifreeze that is chilled and continuously flows through those pipes.

        There is about 10 miles of piping under the concrete which keeps the surface at about 16 degrees for playing hockey. The ice ideally needs to about ¾ inch thick to attain the proper hardness for playing hockey. If it is thicker the ice will be softer and slower. Typically there will be 15,000 gallons of frozen water on the cement surface of an ice arena for a hockey game.

        Why is the surface of indoor ice so much smoother and more even than the ice on an outdoor pond? An ice conditioning machine, commonly called a Zamboni, is used. It scrapes up loose shavings and puts  down a layer of hot water which will be frozen within minutes.




Revised: 06/30/2016