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Frequently Asked Questions

Rinkfinder Questions

Q:  How do I find information or directions for an arena?
On the front page of Rinkfinder.com you can select your arena from a drop down menu on the top right hand corner of the page.  This will take you directly to the rinks home page on Rinkfinder.com.  You can also search by location or name under the tab "Find your arena".  Under "Find your arena" if you select on location, you can select in the left hand column the state, then city OR in the main page after selecting location, you can scroll down the listing of cities and arenas.   You may also select Search by Name under "Find your arena".  A table will list all arenas alphabetically in the main page, and also in the left hand column.

Q:  How do I get directions to an arena?
Navigate to the arena you are looking for and go to their home page on Rinkfinder.  In the upper portion of the arena page, you will see "Click Here to view the location of this arena."  Click on the red portion of the line and a google maps map will open up with the location of the arena you are looking for.  You may type in information to get directions to from your current location.  See google maps for more information regarding the specific use of their website.

Ice Arena Questions

Q. What is MIAMA?
MIAMA stands for the Minnesota Ice Arena Manager's Association. Founded in 1975, it is a volunteer organization made up of arena managers and related vendors throughout the state of Minnesota as well as other states and Canada. Its purpose is to provide a communications and support system for arenas, the arena manager and staff, in order to better handle the issues they face within the industry.

Q. How do I become a member of MIAMA?

A membership brochure is available from the MIAMA office located at 8388 81st Street Lane South, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. Telephone: 651-458-5190 ext. 2; FAX: 651-459-1360. Address: 8388 81st Street Lane South; Cottage Grove, MN 55016. To contact MIAMA secretary Dean Mulso via email: dmulso@miama.org.

Q. How many indoor ice arenas are there in Minnesota?
There are over 210 arenas in Minnesota with more being planned and built each year.

Q. Why aren't all the arenas in Minnesota listed on your site?
Only the member arenas that belong to the Minnesota Ice Arena Manager's Association are listed. It is one of the benefits of membership. If you know the manager of the non-member arena, encourage them to become members of MIAMA. Information on how to join MIAMA is listed in the "About..." section of this Web site.

Q. How thick is the ice in a typical arena?
In most arenas, the ice is kept between 1" to 1.5" thick. The goal is to find a depth that is deep enough to handle the number and weight of skaters and yet thin enough to keep the electrical consumption at a minimum. The thicker the ice surface, the harder the refrigeration system has to work to keep the ice frozen. In most arenas, the ice thickness is checked on a regular basis by using a cordless drill and tape measure. By checking at various locations throughout the arena floor and writing the information on a chart, it will help the arena staff know where to reduce or increase the ice thickness. This is usually done at least once per week.

Q. How many gallons of water are needed to make 1 inch of ice?
The normal rink is 85' x 200' which is equal to 17,000 square feet. This is a typical NHL size rink and would require 11,000 gallons of water to make 1" of ice. An olympic size rink is 100' x 200' and is 20,000 square feet so it would require 13,000 gallons of water to make 1" of ice.

Q. What is the usual temperature of the ice?
The temperature of the ice varies from one facility to the next depending upon several factors: the temperature of the building, the insulation of the building, the outside temperature, how many people are in the building, who might be using the ice, etc. The ideal temperature of the interface between the ice surface and the air is 26°F. At that temperature, friction between skate blades and the ice surface is the least. However, after a resurface the ice might take longer to freeze and reach that temperature so the arena manager may set the refrigeration equipment to produce a lower ice temperature. Most arenas will have the ice temperature around 16° - 24°F for hockey with the ice temperature a little higher if being used only for figure skaters.

Q. Why does the ice take longer to freeze during a HS game?
There can be many reasons. Generally during a high school game there are many people in the building and more heat is being produced for the comfort of the spectators. There is also additional resurfacing of the ice taking place. The combination of these factors puts additional heat loads on the refrigeration system. Therefore it takes more time and energy to freeze the water to make a good ice surface.

Q. How are the logos installed in the ice?
There are several different methods used to install advertising logos onto the ice surface. One way is to use a special type of paint and apply it with a paint brush. In this case, a template similar to a stencil may be used to outline the logo and then color in the various parts. Another method of installing a logo is to use canvas or other fabrics with the design already on and apply it to the ice. These logos are usually put onto the ice when it is 1/4" or 1/2" thick and slowly the logo is covered with a fine mist. Then the remainder of the ice is installed up to the desired 1" thickness.

Q. What are the different types of resurfacers?

There are two major manufacturers of the ice resurfacer: Zamboni and Olympia. Each manufacturer provides a variety of machines with different types of fuel or power. The newest technology involves the use of batteries or fuel cells. Some other sources of power are compressed natural gas, liquid propane and gasoline. Most gasoline power resurfacers are used outdoors. There are at least two arenas in Minnesota in which the resurfacer is powered by a long electric cord.

Q. Why doesn't the ice resurfacer slip and slide all over the ice?

The ice resurfacer tires are equipped with studs to keep the machine from sliding into the boards. With proper training, the driver will learn how to maintain a safe and effective speed to keep the machine under control at all times.

Q. How does the ice resurfacer work?
Ice resurfacers are designed to do several things at the same time as the machine is driven over the ice. There is a sharp blade that shaves the ice. These shavings are moved by a horizontal auger to the center of the conditioner and then lifted up into the snow tank by a vertical auger. There are two separate tanks of water on the resurfacer. The wash water tank allows water to enter the ice surface in front of a squeegee which makes slush with the shavings to help wash the ice and fill in the deep gouges. This wash water is recycled by being vacuumed up, filtered and then returned to the wash water tank. The other tank is for ice-making and is visible during the resurface. This water comes out just behind the conditioner and is spread onto the ice surface by a towel. The original ice resurfacer was invented by Frank Zamboni of California in 1949.

Q. How many gallons of water does the resurfacer hold?

A. The wash water tank holds about 90 gallons. The ice-making water tank holds about 200 gallons of water. In a normal resurface, about 100-150 gallons of ice-making water may be used depending upon how much damage has been done to the ice sheet by the previous users. For example, the ice can be severely ripped up by a boy's high school practice but mini-mites hardly damage the ice at all.

Q. How often is the resurfacer blade changed?
The resurfacer blade is over six feet long and needs to be sharp to insure a quality ice sheet. It is located behind the horizontal auger just in front of the squeegee and is bolted onto the conditioner. At most arenas, the blade is changed once a week at the same time that other maintenance is performed on the resurfacer. The resurfacer blade is extremely sharp so it must be changed with caution.

Q. Why can't players and coaches be on the ice during a resurface?

Driving the resurfacer requires the full attention of the driver. For the safety of the users and staff, most facilities do not allow anyone on the ice while the resurfacer is in operation.

Q. Why are the nets moved from the goal area of the rink during the ice resurface?
At most facilities, the nets should be moved by the users who have just finished their hour of ice time. Most drivers prefer that the nets be placed along the side boards. If the nets are placed at the end boards it is difficult for the operator to manuever. Also most arenas prefer that the nets be tipped up at an angle and rested on the side boards to prevent slush and snow on the bottom of the net from freezing to the ice.

Q. What is the machine that is used along the boards and resembles a lawn mower?
This machine is called an ice edger and it is used to help keep the ice sheet level. The ice resurfacer does not shave the ice any closer than 2-3 inches from the boards. This causes the ice to build up along this area. Also as the driver slows down in the corners, more water is deposited and the ice builds up higher in the corners. The purpose of the ice edger is to shave the ice about 6-8 inches from the boards, making a level surface. Then the left edge of the conditioner can rest on this surface and the thicker areas of the ice are shaved down by the resurfacer.

Q. Why does the dasherboard glass break into tiny pieces at some arenas and at others it will just crack and not shatter?

A. An arena will usually use either tempered glass or plexiglass (acrylic) for their dasherboard glass. The tempered glass is much heavier and more resistant to scratches. However when it breaks, it will shatter into thousands of pieces. The plexiglass is much lighter and is more subject to scratches but when it starts to break will first form tiny cracks. Eventually a piece might break off but there will not be the shattering as in tempered glass.

Q. Why are some arenas colder than others?
The temperature inside the ice arena depends upon the heating abilities of the facility, the insulation of the building and what works best for the refrigeration system of that facility. A building with a higher air temperature will put more stress on the refrigeration system, causing it to run longer or at a heavier load with greater expense. The ideal air temperature and humidity in an arena is about 50°F with 50% humidity. Some arenas do not use any dehumidification. Therefore it will "feel" colder because of the higher humidity in the air.

Q. How do I get my child involved in ice skating?

Each arena may offer a wide range of activities. At some arenas, the learn-to-skate program is sponsored by the arena itself. At other facilities, the figure skating club handles the learn-to skate program. Some arenas have public skating hours posted when you can practice your ice skating. In other locations, the youth hockey programs offer learn-to-skate and learn-to play hockey classes. Contact your local ice arena for more information.

Q. What are some of the activities held at an ice skating facility?
Depending upon the facility, there are a number of different activities and programs. Many skating rinks offer various public sessions including public skating, open hockey, open freestyle and learn-to-skate programs. Other activities may include youth hockey, high school hockey, adult hockey, figure skating, broomball, ringette or curling. Private rental of the ice is also available at most facilities.

Q. What are some of the "down time" activities at an ice arena?
Some ice arenas only maintain an ice surface for 5-6 months each year. The rest of the time the building can be used for dry floor events. Some of these events are in-line skating, roller hockey, tennis, volleyball, basketball, craft shows, trade shows, circus, wedding receptions, conventions, dances, concerts, etc. If you have a particular arena in mind, look at its page in this Web site to see if they offer the activity you are interested in. The location of the arena, the size of the facility and the population in which it is located will determine how well the arena and staff are equipped to handle certain events.