Playing hockey on ice without using ice has been a reality for the last 30 years since the time synthetic ice-rinks made its appearance. Toronto Maple Leafs, an NHL team, have installed synthetic ice surface for their practice facility at the Mastercard training center made from the Kwikrinksyntheticice. The surface is as natural as ice and supports all kinds of movements involved in top class performance without the need of spraying lubricants on the surface. The lubricant used to keep the surface slippery remains mixed with the plastic material and releases gradually to form a thin film on the surface that aids gliding.
Closing the gap
The 5th generation synthetic ice surface introduced by Kwik Rink matches natural ice in terms of speed and performance. The deficiencies faced by hockey players when skating on the earlier versions of synthetic ice surfaces do not occur in the latest version that closes the gap between real ice and synthetic ice surfaces. Other synthetic surfaces offer some resistance during transitioning and backward skating. It results in slowing down when transitioning and backward skating does not give that natural feeling. These problems occur no more because of the improved technology used. The drag and resistance on this surface are also the least on this surface.
No issues with surface glide
The smoothness of gliding is an important factor that impacts performance, and often synthetic surfaces lack on this account as compared to natural ice. This used to be the case before the introduction of synthetic ice-rinks, but no more. The latest version of synthetic ice rink ensures that in a single slide you can now glide upto 50 feet and more. The feeling is as real as gliding on real ice.
Perform all movements and maneuvers
The common complaint against synthetic ice surfaces is that it does not facilitate performing all movements and maneuvers with the same ease as it is possible on natural ice. This used to be true especially with backward skating and transitioning that felt quite unnatural on synthetic surfaces. Even, some surfaces did not at all support these movements. Now, it is possible to put such inconveniences behind by installing KwikRink V synthetic ice-rinks on which you can perform all movements with ease.
Lubrication is a critical factor that determines the quality of synthetic ice surfaces because the oiliness is responsible for making the surface behave like natural ice. Maintaining optimal lubrication of the surface by avoiding too much lubricant oozing out on the surface is quite challenging for manufacturers of synthetic ice-rinks. In many plastic surfaces that resemble natural ice, you would find that the lubricant migrates with time leaving the surface dry and unusable. The latest generation of synthetic ice-rinks uses a dry lubricant that does not migrate and come out from the synthetic ice panel.
Despite closing the gap with natural ice surface, synthetic ice-rinks are still not ready to substitute natural ice at the highest competitive level like NHL.