NHL Rink Dimensions (In-depth Details!)

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Alex PT

NHL rink dimensions measure 200 feet by 85 feet (61 meters by 26 meters), totaling 17,000 square feet. These standardized dimensions provide a consistent playing surface for ice hockey teams in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Size of Hockey Rinks: Why the US Rink Is Smaller Than the EU Rink

1. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Standards

The IIHF, the global governing body for ice hockey, stipulates a standard larger size for the international game. The EU follows IIHF specifications, with the rink size measuring 200 ft x 100 ft. On the other hand, the National Hockey League (NHL) in the US utilizes a smaller rink size of 200 ft x 85 ft.

2. Historical Precedence

The difference in rink sizes dates back to the historical roots of hockey. European leagues have always adhered to international standards, while North American leagues, including the US, chose to adopt their unique rink sizes.

3. Influence on Gameplay Style

The larger rink size in the EU lends itself to a more tactical game, emphasizing player positioning, passing accuracy, and strategic shooting, whereas the smaller US rinks allow for a faster-paced and more physical style of play.

Rink Sizes and Dimensions

EntityLength (ft)Width (ft)
IIHF (EU)200100
NHL (US)20085

4. Spectator Engagement

The smaller US ice surface brings spectators closer to the action, amplifying the intensity of the sport and creating a more engaging viewing experience for fans.

5. Economic Considerations

The size difference can also be attributed to cost factors. Constructing and maintaining a larger ice surface, as seen in the EU, incurs higher costs than the smaller US rink size.

In conclusion, various historical, cultural, strategic, and economic factors contribute to the size difference of hockey rinks between the US and the EU. This variation shapes not only the nature of the game but also the playing style and spectator experience across these regions.

Are All NHL Hockey Rinks the Same Size?

No, not all NHL hockey rinks are the same size. While there is a standard set of dimensions for NHL rinks, there is some variation allowed. The NHL’s official rulebook specifies that rinks should ideally measure 200 feet (61 meters) in length and 85 feet (26 meters) in width. This is commonly referred to as “NHL standard” or “NHL-size.”

However, some older arenas and facilities may have rinks that deviate from these standard dimensions due to space limitations. These non-standard rinks can vary in size, which can impact gameplay. Typically, these smaller rinks are narrower and shorter than the standard NHL rinks.

Hockey Rink Size

Hockey Rink Size

For the NHL, the standard measurement for a rink ice surface should be 200 feet in length and then the width should be around 85 feet. The international rink ice surface is as long as 197 feet and then as wide as 98.4 feet. When comparing the two major rinks that we have, it has been observed that the international hockey rink is close to the height that the NHL Rink has, although it is said to be wider than it. 

Putting hockey players on bigger ice would change the game for them. They would have to train to play in a more spacious environment than the one they have been playing in all this while. This style of play would have to concur with more space and more time improvement. You would also notice some things while the players are playing on this kind of ice, you would notice that they won’t move as fast as they used to. Also, the shooter from his angle might not be accurate. 

NHL Hockey Rink 

Inside the hockey rink, the red line in the middle follows two blue lines on each side of the rink. Both blue lines are placed 25 feet away from the red line and so both blue lines are 50 feet apart from each other. 

One line passes behind the blue line, both lines on both sides are before the blue lines on both sides. The distance of that line from the blue line is 50 feet. 

International Hockey Rink

The international hockey rink is just like that of the NHL hockey rink. The only thing is the difference in size. Just like we have said before, we have 98.4 feet in width and then 197feet in length. 

Some Of The Popular Hockey Rinks

Some Of The Popular Hockey Rinks

Montreal Forum 

One of the popular rinks in hockey is the Montreal forum which has given Canada their 22 titles since they played in this particular rink. In all the NHL title games that Canada played in this rink, they won all those titles. This is one of the reasons why this place is so popular. The Hockey team in Canada worships this rink. This is where they play their home games too because the rink happens to be in Canada. 

There are some great Hockey players that have played in this particular rink over time. For instance, we have someone like Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, and Ken. These three great hockey players played most of their games in this rink and they had some of their best play here too. 

Maple Leaf Garden 

Also located in Canada, this arena here is located in Toronto. The team known as the Toronto Maple leaf played most of their home games here and they played there for more than 50 years. From 1931 to 1999, the team had this arena as their home game rink. Aside from this, another thing that made this place so popular was the Hockey Night In Canada Games, they aired from this arena a lot of times. Although they did air from a lot of other arenas, this arena was used most of the time. It was used more than any other arena. 

The Boston Garden 

This is another popular hockey rink. This is where the Bruins played their home games for so many years. Starting from 1928 to 1995. Although it was a little smaller in length, the place had a very nice arena for fans who came to watch the games. Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito played some of their games in this rink. Phil Esposito is the first owner of the Florida Panthers. 

Goal Dimensions In Hockey

By the rules set by NHL, the goal on the hockey rink should be 6 feet wide and then four feet in length. This means that it shouldn’t be as high as any human being. The goal isn’t supposed to be too wide too. The net on the goal goes back from the front and it goes back for about 40 inches. 

Hockey Board Dimensions

The wall or the board that is placed around the rink should be around forty to 48 inches tall, it just depends on the arena being used. 

The Size Of A Hockey Puck

The Size Of A Hockey Puck

The puck is what you play in hockey, just like the ball in soccer or the ball in basketball, the puck is just like a disk-shaped rubber-like ball. Its thickness is around 1 inch, its diameter is 3 meters, and it weighs like 6 ounces. 


How To Make An Iced Rink Stay Iced?

The process of making the ice in an ice rink involves cold concrete. This is the major substance used to make the ice in the rink. The concrete slab under the ice has metals shoved into it. After this process, they use a refrigeration plant used to freeze glycol and put them in the slab. This is what makes the hockey rink drop temperature below the normal freezing level. 

Outdoor Rinks Are What Size?

The outdoor rinks are of any size, whatever size you want them to be. The thing is that it cannot be smaller than the indoor hockey rinks that we have. It is most times bigger because the hockey rinks outdoors are built based on the space that is available for them. We couldn’t say any particular size, but the rinks outdoors are very big and with a lot of space too. 

Wrapping Up

There are a lot of things we don’t know about hockey, the rink size has just been exposed to you today. 

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