The NHL Should Use An Olympic Size Ice Surface

It’s no secret that the NHL wants to open up the game. One way to do that is to change to an Olympic size rink. Olympic hockey is often faster than the NHL game, and that is in part due to the larger playing surface.

A larger surface would allow for the bigger faster players to play the game the way it needs to be played. It would also allow the NHL to attempt to grab a new audience. Let’s be honest unless you have always been a hockey fan chances are you are not going to just start watching NHL games. However, if the game was less clutch and grab, and more skate and make plays you may start to gravitate towards the sport.

Earlier today Assistant Director of Fansided NHL Mark Huss asked the question should the NHL use a bigger ice surface.  The answer is yes they should, but not in the arenas, at least not yet. I think the NHL needs to use the larger surfaces during their outdoor games. There is no reason that they can’t do that. Most of these games are played in football stadiums and baseball parks. There is no issue with moving seats or losing revenue.

The outdoor games are meant to be a tribute to the game, but I think they have become about money. The Winter Classic would be the perfect event to test the Olympic sized ice. Not only for the reasons I’ve already covered, but it could be a big marketing tool. It would once again be something new, and as we know new makes money.

It’s not just about money. There are a lot of highly talented players that come to the NHL from Europe, and they need to learn how to play NHL hockey. What if these free skating talents didn’t need to relearn the game? Now, I understand that North American hockey players are all playing on small ice, but I think it may be easier to learn how to adapt to a bigger surface than lean how to shrink your game down to a smaller surface.

It really doesn’t matter what the reason for changing is. The fact remains the NHL needs to find a way to gain new fans. Any idea should be explored, and this idea needs to be used. The NHL says they are the best hockey league. If that is the case they need to put their top talent on the bigger ice, and let them play the game.

Tags: Ice Surface IIHF Winter Classic Winter Olympics

  • Mark

    This discussion happens every 4 years during the olympics. It’s not going to happen any time soon. I’ve yet to meet someone after seeing their first live game not like it, regardless of the sheet size or style. The casual fan wouldn’t recognize the difference either. Oh, & you fail to mention that the NHL is currently outpacing the NBA in game attendance.


    I’d like to see the #NHL play on a larger ice surface, it would open up the game, make it allot faster, getting rid of all the slow goons in the league.

  • Patrick Helper

    Opening up the ice would make for a faster game. Faster game, more goals, more goal more fans, more fans more $$$… It’s a classic domino effect. I love the game as it is, but like with most things in life there comes a time for change, and the outdoor game is a great testing ground for this.

  • Timothy Redinger

    It wont happen because in order for NHL arenas to play on the larger surface you have to eliminate some of the priciest seats in the arena to expand the ice surface. It wont happen. The NHL can make the ice surface bigger without changing the actual dimensions.

    • Patrick Helper

      Yes they could. They could change the size of the blue lines, They can change the neutral zone as well. But I think using the IIHF/Olympic rink outdoors could be a nice change. As for the money lost on the seats… Lets just say for arguments sake..That money could be replaced by new fans and advertisement revenue as the game grows. But, you are right. It wont happen, but maybe it should.