How Many Hockey Rinks In Canada? [Expert Review!]

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For hockey fans in Canada, the winter and summer holidays are a great time to be making memories. With the recent expansion of the NHL and its return to Canada, the popular sport is back and better than ever before. From coast to coast, hockey rinks have popped up like weeds and replaced swimming pools. Between the cold winter months, we were able to track down the exact number of hockey rinks in Canada and how many people are currently playing on them.

The Biggest Hockey Rink In Canada

When the NHL and the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) partnered up in the early 90s to begin their 100-year celebration, they decided to give hockey fans across the country a memorable present. The two organizations decided to build the biggest and the best hockey rink they could find. The CHA started collecting funds and, in 1994, finished building the 50,000-square-foot (4,690.84 m²) Canadian Tire Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. On December 10th, 2019, the NHL expanded to 32 teams and Calgary’s Canadian Tire Centre was renamed the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The arena is one of the preeminent hockey venues in the world and is home to the Calgary Flames. Since opening its doors in 1994, the arena has seen many historic moments.

The arena has two levels. The upper level houses the VIP area, which includes the Legends’ Lounge and the Flames’ Nest, an open-air rooftop terrace. While the upper level is accessible to the public, the lower level is used for training sessions and games. It has a capacity of 5,000 and is covered by a roof to protect players from inclement weather conditions.

The arena has hosted some incredible sporting events. It has been the home of the Calgary Stampeders (Canadian Football League) since 2015 and will also be the home of the 2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. In addition, the venue has played host to the NHL All-Star Games in 1996, 1997, and 2019. Finally, the Saddledome has been a regular stop for the NHL on NBC during the playoffs. The above list goes to show how popular the Canadian Tire Centre is among hockey fans and non-fans alike.

Tiny Hockey Rinks In Canada

While the 50,000-square-foot (4,690.84 m²) Canadian Tire Centre is undoubtedly the largest hockey arena in Canada, it is not the only one. The smallest hockey rinks in the country are barely big enough for a regulation-size game of hockey. For instance, the Portage La Prairie Winter Carnival held its first annual Winter Carnival Classic in 2019. The one-day annual event featured two NHL alumni teams – the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild – competing for the Frank Mazzi Trophy. In an interview with The Province newspaper, Wild forward Jason Zucker joked about the size of the rink, “It was about the size of my garage. It was unbelievable.”

The garage-sized rink was undoubtedly the highlight of the night. Players were forced to use snowballs and ice skates instead of hockey sticks due to the small surface area. The NHL is committed to providing hockey fans with memorable experiences and truly is the best in the world. Unfortunately, not all of them are positive experiences. The smallest of the minimum-sized rinks in Canada is located in Quebec and is named the Gauthier Desjardins Arena. It is named after the founder of a major Canadian bank who passed away in 2019 at the age of 94.

The arena is named after its biggest fan. It has a capacity of 300 and is used for high school and Junior A hockey as well as figure skating. However, it has not been used for hockey since the 2000-01 season. The above list covers the largest and the best hockey rinks in the country.

How Many Players Are On The Ice Per Day?

There is a common misconception that playing hockey is easy because it is a team sport. While it is true that you have your teammates to share the workload with, it is also true that you are responsible for your own efforts on the ice. The number of players on the ice varies from rink to rink and depends on a few factors. First, are you playing exhibition or competitive games? Second, what time of day is it? Third, what position do you play? Finally, how experienced are you?

To gain an idea of how many players are on the ice at one time, one must first determine what fraction of the ice surface is occupied. To do this, one must multiply the number of skaters by two; one for each team (this includes the goalie). It is also important to remember that some rinks have more than one ice surface and, in these cases, one must divide the total number of players by the number of ice surfaces to get the per-day average. This is a simple yet effective way of looking at the data and deciding how many players are on the ice at one time. For instance, if you are using average ice speed (kph) as a measurement, a rough estimate of the total number of players on the ice would be:

(11×2) + (7×2) + (7×2) + (7×2) + (7×2) + (7×2) + (5×2) = 77 skaters in total;

divided by the number of ice surfaces (2) = 38.5 players on the ice per day (including goalies).

An additional factor that must be considered when estimating the total number of players on the ice is the position that each skater occupies. The standard positions are listed below (from Wikipedia):

  • Centre – He plays the middle position between the two defensemen, and is generally responsible for moving the puck forward
  • Wing – Also known as a winger, he plays on the right side of the ice and is responsible for shooting the puck
  • Defense – Also known as a defenseman, he plays on the left side of the ice and is responsible for preventing the other team’s goals
  • Goalie – The goalie plays in the net, in front of the cage, where the opposing team’s shooters aim at
  • Faceoff – He takes the draw for his team; if he wins the draw, he gives the puck to a teammate in the center

As a general rule, the more experienced the skater, the higher the number of players he can bring to the ice. For instance, an experienced NHL player can play on an amateur team in a non-professional league and vice versa. In terms of the above positions, a center would have the highest total number of positions whereas a goalie would have the lowest total number of positions. This is because he plays the most fundamental role on the ice and other positions are derived from it.

The Overall Trend

Based on the above data, it is clear that the sport of hockey is experiencing a boom and many new rinks are being built across the country. This trend is expected to continue as the NHL is set to expand to 34 teams in the near future. It is also important to recognize that some cities have more than one hockey rink. For example, Edmonton, Alberta has both the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Icehawks. This not only makes Edmonton the skating capital of Canada but also the “hockey city”, with two rinks under one roof. While the above stats are certainly interesting, they do not tell the entire story. One of the best ways to get a complete picture of the current state of hockey in Canada is to look at the numbers on a daily basis. To that end, we are going to keep track of the total number of games played each week.

The first thing you will notice above is that the game days per week seem to be increasing. This makes sense when you consider that more and more people are finding joy in the winter months – the perfect time for ice hockey. The trend is clear: the more affluent and comfortable a country is, the more likely it is to play hockey. On average, each week, there are 3.78 games played across the country. This adds up to a total of 129 hockey games played per month. Since January is the month with the most games, this is the month that you should look out for next year.

The Future Of Hockey In Canada

While the growth of the sport in Canada is promising, there are still a few areas that need attention if the country truly wants to see the game flourish. First, ice rinks must be built in all areas of the country. The urban centers that do not have the sport already know what it is like to wait for ice to appear on summer days. This is definitely frustrating if you have a pool at home and want to join the fun.

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