Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Should The NHL Adopt A Larger Ice Surface?


Jan 1, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; General view of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings starting line up prior to the start of the 2014 Winter Classic hockey game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

For the past several years the NHL has been changing, modernizing, adapting, whatever you would like to call it, the game of hockey so that it is more entertaining for the fans. The NHL has over-time become a fast paced game that is exciting to long time patrons, but the league obviously wants to achieve a larger fan base. Obviously this argument is bound to come up during the Olympics, as during all international play the ice surface is larger than what we see in the NHL. If you have watched a women’s hockey game in the last couple of days you most likely would have noticed the difference in the ice surface. The IIHF rule book states these measurements…

101 – DIMENSIONS OF THE RINK Maximum size: 61 metres long by 30 metres wide. Minimum size: 56 metres long by 26 metres wide. The corners shall be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of 7 to 8.5 metres.

Official website of the International Ice Hockey Federation Translation, the maximum width would be 200 feet long, 100 feet wide. Comparing this to the NHL rink’s dimensions…

1.2 Dimensions – The official size of the rink shall be two hundred feet (200′) long and eighty-five feet (85′) wide. The corners shall be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of twenty-eight feet (28′).

NHL Rule Book via NHL.com

Obviously their are several complications to widening NHL rinks, one being removing seats from arenas, and it seems that right now money might reign supreme. What could a wider ice surface accomplish though, possibly more scoring, and less injuries. Given the players a wider ice surface may not guarantee more goals, but it would certainly give skilled players more room to work their magic, and less congestion on the ice which could reduce unwanted collisions. This argument has been brought up several times during the NHL’s ongoing quest for more scoring and more entertainment, and as mentioned, it is bound to come up during or after the Olympic tournament. While discussing this with other staff members of Too Many Men On The Site, Patrick Helper proposed an intriguing thought. What if the NHL tried a larger ice surface during an outdoor game? Just thought I would leave you with some food for thought. Vote below and let us know what you think about a larger ice surface in the NHL.

Should The NHL Adopt A Larger Ice Surface?

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  • Ron Schwalbe

    It used to be GREAT to watch the Candians come to the Spectrum, and play the Fliers in “ally”, — and then watch the Fliers trying to catch the Habs in the Forum, that was the size of Kennedy Airport

  • Kevin

    Good read Mark. Your right about the $ thing. Which is a shame. I think the Canadian rinks would go to it with no argument, as opposed to the greedy corporate America. The outside idea is a great place to try it.

    • Dano

      Kevin..

      In order to achieve bigger rinks in the NHL, the Arenas/Forums and such would have to remove how many 100level or rink-side seats? Those are some expensive tickets. This would also reduce the number of seats for fans to buy.

      Buffalo has a newer Arena. What would be the justification for pouring that type of investment to institute those kind of seating changes? Because a league said so? This would be another thorn in the side to lease agreements and such. As a taxpayer, I choose to buy tickets of my own free will. Taxpayers whom dont care about hockey or go to FnC events shouldnt be forced to make the ‘ donation ‘ to changing FnC around.

      As for ‘ Greedy Corporate America ‘, try getting tickets to a Leafs game! At least in Buffalo, Columbus and even Detroit, I can buy tickets just about any time! I think you have that statement a bit backwards my friend. ;)