How Do You Double Your Practice Space Without Doubling Your Time?
The USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) created a curriculum and age-appropriate guidelines for hockey associations across the country to help children play, love, and excel in the game of hockey.
They brought about much-needed change to the game by calling associations to focus on fundamentals and individual skill development instead of the result of the scoreboard and game tactics.
This focus on fundamentals and individual skills led to an increased ratio of practice-to-game time on the rink, and there was a growing need to increase the space available to use for practice.
The use of hockey rink dividers effectively doubled the number of players that could simultaneously practice on the ice while at the same time shrinking the space to ensure that each player had more opportunities to practice passing, shooting, and handling.
Hockey Canada’s test on the use of cross-ice rink dividers was a huge success. By using the width of the ice instead of the length, one sheet of ice could be turned into three, allowing 24 kids to be on the ice at the same time. This increased the number of passes, shots, and stick-handling that a player could do.
The smaller space meant less running up and down the rink chasing the puck. The decreased play area allowed players to focus more energy on improving their skills, thus increasing their enjoyment of the game. Moreover, the smaller space meant every person in the rink was always involved in the game.
If you want to provide the best possible environment for players to develop their skills on your hockey rink, then finding the right rink divider is critical to answering the needs of a growing hockey player base.
Currently, there are two types of rink dividers, the first being aluminum dividers such as the Optimizer Rink Divider, which:
- Effectively cuts the rink into two;
- Comes with radiused panels where the divider meets the dasher boards to mimic the environment of a real game;
- Consists of the same material as dasher boards, high-density polyethylene (HDPE);
- Offers maximum durability and the same degree of safety as dasher boards; and
- Comes with a passthrough gate for easy access to both sides of the rink.
Foam rink dividers, as the name suggests, are less durable but more easily deployable cross-ice rink dividers that allow you to partition the ice into multiple sections if needed.
Foam dividers also come in different heights as required and allow for easy set-up. While they don’t offer the same protection and safety as their aluminum counterparts, they have the advantage of flexibility in that you can use them on the ice, indoors, or outdoor playing surfaces.
Having rink dividers benefits both the ice rink owners and the general hockey population. Owners can increase their profits by renting the rink to two or more teams at once while players can develop their skills more easily with the limited space. Nothing feels better than turning a profit while at the same time helping players of the sport you love become more competitive.
Athletica is a leader in the design, engineering, innovation, and manufacture of dasher board systems for all levels of hockey, from backyards to the pro’s. They also supply a full range of specialty products and services for sports facilities of all kinds.