Oval or circle, it is the ice rink itself that helps to make this game what it is today.
I sometimes wondered where the size and shape of the ice rink came from? Did anyone really decided the size?
After getting into the NHL website and reading everything else but the history of the ice rink, I realized I needed to do more research on this matter. I went back into the different websites on hockey and after reading more about rulers and guidelines, I finally got somewhere!
First, hockey was played on curling rinks. There was no markings. I read this and tried hard to picture a hockey game being played on a curling rink. I just don’t see it! Do you?
Today the game is played on a rectangle rink with rounded corners. All NHL hockey arenas are pretty much the same. All sizes came from the first indoor ice rink game, which was played in 1875. The arena “Victoria Skating Rink” in Montreal, Quebec, Canada was opened in 1862. The size of the hockey rink was 200 feet long, 85 feet wide with boards 40-48 inches high. We still see the game being played on the same size rinks as our great grand-fathers did, way back in 1875!
There are two different sizes of ice rinks in the world today. One is International and the other is what we in North America play on. The International sizes are a bit different from us. The overall size is 200 feet by 100 feet. It seems they have more play space than us! (I just sounded like a crying kid of 4, hockey makes me that way!) The International teams play under the rulers and guidelines of the International Ice Hockey Federation. (IIHF) We in North America play under the National Hockey League. (NHL)
The rink is cut into three zones. The defending zone, the attacking zone and the neutral zone. By the way, the word “rink” is Scottish for ‘course’ So next time you are watching a game on TV or sitting in an arena, look at the rink itself and notice that the size and shape has stayed the same for over 138 years! Wow! Most things today don’t last even last half that time!