New Ice Age - Growing the Game of Ice Hockey
The growth of any of the major sports rely on those who support, attend, view the games, follow their teams and immulate their heroes. Starting with the latter, as with every sport aspiring young players hone their skills with the hopes of one day enjoying the accolades and acheiving the goals of their favorite players and teams.
With each sport different skills are required to excel at each position both mentally and physically. For the most part with most sports not a lot is required to begin the process. Basketball requires simply a ball and a hoop. Baseball requires a bat, a ball and a glove. Football requires a football and an open field or schoolyard. Soccer just a ball.
Now Ice Hockey on the other hand is a whole other animal. Sure you can hone your stick-handling and shooting skills with a puck and a stick but now try doing it on the ice. Developing and learning the art of ice skating is not "geographically" available to many of those who appreciate the game. As much as we would love to rely on mother nature to help grow the sport, Ice Rinks and Ice Time has become a costly necessity for anyone with the slightest interest in becoming the next "Great One"......until now.
There is a second coming of the "Ice Age" in the form of synthetic ice plastic that has breathed new life into growing the sport of Ice Hockey. Now aspiring young players in warm climate areas and anywhere else for that matter can learn the skill of ice skating in the privacy of their own home. Though the original investment in these portable ice panels may be considered costly it pales in comparison to the constant schlepping back-and-forth to the rink, paying for gas, private lessons, clinics and camps. A home synthetic Ice rink offers players the ability train and become better skaters in the comfort of their own home and would pay for itself when parents do the math.
Developments in new technology have improved the quality and performance of synthetic ice plastic tremendously in the last 10-years. The old-school "cutting board" type surface has been relaced by high-tech infused panels that lesson the surface "drag" or coefficient of friction (COF) to make skating on synthetic ice a more ice-like experience.
These new devolpments will go a long way to help growing the game of Ice Hockey and reaching those players and families that may otherwise consider another sport. This may well be the "New Ice Age" that helps put Ice Hockey into the mainstream of professional sports....only time will tell.