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NHL History Of Rinks

Every player is well aware of the rink he is playing on. They know the length of the ice and the amount of room they have to play in the neutral zone. Although every rink in the NHL is now virtually the same with the exception of logos and ice quality, it wasn't always that way. In this feature, we will take a look at how the rink has been adapted over the years. You may be surprised at all of the changes, both large and small. Please keep in mind, that the following information is based on a majority of rinks during each time frame. There have been variances all along the way.

Prior to the 1950's:  While the pictures of rinks in this era are rare and hard to see, its safe to say that rinks varied a great deal at this time. Can you imagine a time where they didn't even paint the ice white? It is tough to say whether any rinks had lines painted on the ice. I have seen photos that suggested that some may have but its tough to say. Needless to say, if they were there, they were tough to see.

1950-1960:  This was a time of only a handful of teams. A few had center ice logos, but that had not yet become a necessity. The red line started out solid red, but as black and white televisions began to air hockey games, patterns of white paint began to appear on the center line to help decipher which line was which.

1961-1973:  During this period, most ices would have a center ice logo of some sort. The neutral zones were 58 feet white on a standard rink. Small vertical hash marks were added to the four faceoff spots at the ends of the rink.

1974-1982:  The rink would remain largely the same for many years with only small changes like the modified hash marks in the face-off circles beginning in 1974.

1983-1985: We can look back upon the early eighties as the time that led to advertisements popping up everywhere around the rink. Dasher board advertisements were introduced. At the time there was no set layout or restrictions on the placement of the ads. Also during this time, the hash-marks disappeared but the face-off dots outside of the neutral zone where changed a bit. 

1986-1991:  The mid-eighties brought a couple changes to the rink. Along with advertisers lining the boards all the way around the rink, the goal creases got a makeover. 

1992-1993:  Once again the crease would be modified as the light blue paint returned in front of the nets. On ice advertisements also started to pop up in the neutral zone in the early nineties. By this time there seemed to be a uniform system in place for board advertisement placement league wide..

1994-1995: Some slight modification to the board ad placement was the only major change during this time.

1996:  The blue paint inside the nets was removed and small NHL branding began showing up near all four corners of the rink. 

1997: The hash marks made their comeback in a style which remains on the ice today. Also this was the last year before the NHL shortened the width of the neutral zone.
1998:  The neutral zone was shortened from 58 feet wide to 54 feet wide. 

1999-2002:  The goal crease was changed to what is now the standard crease among Pro North American rinks. The old style is still used in most other countries and many minor leagues. 

2003-2004:  The last change to the rink prior to the lost 04/05 season was to the neutral zone face off dots which were changed to match the rest of the face off dots. 

2006-2007:  When players returned to the ice following the lockout, two major changes had occurred. The neutral zone was shortened once again, from 54 feet to 50 feet. Also two lines were painted behind the goal lines to create the "Trapezoid" which is designed to keep goalies from playing the puck from the corners. I still do not understand the need for the trapezoid but it seems to be here to stay. One small detail also popped up on the boards at this time. Reebok struck a deal with the NHL to supply the league with jerseys, and they got their logo up on the red and blue lines up the sides of the boards. 

2008:  It seems like perhaps the league decided that the boards surrounding the rinks had become a bit too distracting. Around this time all of the board ads started having no background color so that the boards would regain their white faces. Unlike the trapezoid, I was very pleased to see this change!

2009-2014:  A logo change by Reebok led to a quick subtle change to their logo on the boards as well.

2015: The hash marks outside the end zone circles were moved from 3 feet to 5 feet 7 inches separation. Finally, the trapezoid grew by two feet from each goal post to create what is now the current rink layout for all 30 NHL teams.

*if you find any errors or see something I missed, please comment below.

Did you know?

  • Edmonton's center ice logo faces the players rather than the penalty box because their TV cameras are on the opposite side of the rink from all 29 other arenas today.
  • The New York Islanders have used the same red line design since they entered the league. This could change once they move to Brooklyn. 
  • Some arenas used to have off-centered penalty boxes which led to the referee's circle to be painted in alternate locations as well.
  • Some older, smaller arenas in the past have had shorter rink dimensions.
    • Buffalo Memorial Auditorium  - 196' x 85' (Neutral Zone smaller then regulation)
    • Boston Garden                     - 191' x 83' (One offensive zone smaller)
    • Chicago Stadium                  - 188' x 85' (Smallest Neutral Zone in the league)
    • Detroit Olympia                    - 200' x 83' (2 feet shorter in width)
    • Maple Leaf Gardens             - 200' x 85' (Uneven corners, unconfirmed
I want to thank CF92 and Cory Gibson who were responsible for much of the research that made this possible!

Update On The Oiler's New Digs

While this is a season that the Oilers would probably love to forget, fans can at least look forward to their new arena. The Rexall Place has not treated the Oilers very well in the last few seasons. Though some fans will miss its historic values, its not likely that they will miss the poor lighting, poor ice conditions, or the poor performances that have taken place there. The new arena will be a great opportunity for everyone to get excited again and hopefully that excitement will help power the team back to its former glory. So just how far along is the Rogers Place construction site? Check out a live webcam anytime you wish by clicking here.

Team Rink Wallpaper: CHI Added

Check out our new team ice rink desktop wallpaper. We will be uploading more teams every couple of days but here are a few to get you started. As this feature grows in the future, we will give it a special spot within the site for easy navigation of the downloadable content. Please keep in mind that this set of rinks is meant to be for fun. The board ads are not authentic and some may even be humorous at times. Hope you enjoy!


Winter Classic 2015 Graphics

Happy New Year from Frozen Faceoff and what better way to ring in the new year than some new Winter Classic graphics. Here is the center ice design as well as the full rink design!


Blues Continue To Ignore Their Fans And Tradition

UPDATE:  I have had several people asking for an update on the Blues' organist situation and on ways that we might be able to spread the word.

At this time, Jeremy Boyer has played at only two games since mid-November. The word going around twitter seems to indicate that he will only play a few more games. Please keep tweeting your support for @JABSMusic and include @StLouisBlues and the hashtag #savetheorganist.

Also after checking out the Blues website, it appears that the directer of game entertainment is Lamont Buford. He may or may not be the one dictating these changes but under his watch, in one season alone the Blues have tried to get rid of the organ goal song, and now the organist himself. If you would like to contract him you can do so via his twitter handle @puckhead_hb.  Keep it civil please! That is the only way anything will get accomplished.

Original Story: #savetheorganIST: Many of you know that I am a die-hard Blues fan and have probably gotten used to the fact that I am not always good at hiding my favoritism. Unfortunately I dislike the game entertainment management as much as I love the team. Recently their decision making has left me wondering if they even care about their fans at all. Worse yet, my emails and tweets to the team have been completely ignored as they have been in the past. That doesn't say much for their public relations department either. Many Blues fans are aware that the organ music at Scottrade Center for the last month has been less than stellar to say the least. In fact, the energy that the organ has always provided even in the worst of games has now vanished.

Back around 2008 the Blues decided it was time to bring back live organ music. For several years the music had simply been pre-programed/recorded music from the organ itself. They hired Jeremy Boyer, a Southeast Missouri State graduate who had experience playing the organ for their basketball games as well as the Saint Louis Cardinals' AAA affiliate Memphis Redbirds.

Jeremy took this role very serious and even studied with the great long time organist Ernie Hayes. He understood how important the team's history and traditions were to it's fans and worked very hard to respect and honor those traditions. He played our goal song very similar to the way it was played back when the Blues played in the old arena.

Fast forward to this season: The Blues' management surprised us all in the preseason by changing up our goal song. This is not the first time in recent years that they have tried to do this. Each time the change is met with outrage from Blues fans and this time was no different. Apparently the 'suits' do not have a very good memory, or perhaps they just don't care what fans think.

 The preseason drama hit twitter in the form of a hashtag "#SaveTheOrgan." It seemed to work as the Blues would soon release a statement assuring its fans that the traditions they cared about so deeply, including the organ, would be sticking around. At that point we thought the drama was over and had the Blues management stopped there, we would all be happy campers.

Sadly this was not the end of the story. While we don't really know what is going on with our beloved organist at this time, we do know a few things.

  1. Jeremy never missed a game in his time with the Blues.
  2. Blues management have already proven that they want change for the sake of change.
  3. Jeremy has not played in over a month as of the posting of this article. 
  4. Another person or persons has been filling in on the organ. 
I have not heard anything about whether our organist has been replaced, quit or is simply taking some time out for himself. Given the amount of time he has been gone, I would now highly doubt that he is taking time off. Someone who never misses a game is not likely to take off too much time all of the sudden. 

Given the poor judgement that the manger(s) overseeing game presentation seem to make, I would now guess that they are up to their old tricks. Even more convincingly, they do not seem to be responding to any fan's questions or complaints regarding the issue. 

Its time to show the Blues management that 18,000 plus fans packing the arena every game are the one's whose opinions really matter. Not some suit and tie who might be wanting to make a name for himself. I ask everyone to go to twitter and voice your concerns using the hashtag # AND send your concerns by email to or call (314) 622-2500. 

Also there is a survey on the Blues site where you can leave feedback: Guest Experience Survey. Together we can get him back behind the organ at Scottrade Center in no time!

Finally, here is a clip of our wonderful organist playing the old St Louis Arena organ a couple years ago at Scottrade Center. 

2015 NHL Full Rinks Are Up

This year I have a brand new template for the full rink graphics. Following nearly 3 months of work on the rinks, all 30 graphics are complete! I will also update that section with the Winter Classic and Stadium Series graphics after the games have been played.
Click here to visit the full rink section.

Power Problems In Detroit

A "major cable failure" shut down the grid at about 10:30 a.m., and all of the roughly 100 customers on the grid are affected, according to a statement from the City of Detroit. Among the places affected was the Joe Louis Arena, home of the Red Wings. Power has since been restored and the outage will not impact the evening game. This is not the first time in recent days that power has been absent from the Joe. A November 30th Canucks game was delayed recently when half of the arena's power was knocked out. Below are some photos of a darkened JLA.

Saddledome Ice Goes Pink

#HitmenFightCancer is why the Flames ice has been turned pink. This is a common practice in November for several minor league teams, but it is not done in NHL rinks.  This exception is because the Flames share the Saddledome with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen. While the ice did not get the full circle Hitmen logo, the ice did get a nice top coat of pink. Here is the rare look at an NHL rink in pink.


AHL Phantoms Come To Their Senses

It would appear that the most unusual ice design in the AHL was taken back to the drawing board. Its great to be unique but the Phantoms found a less desirable unique way to show of their logo inside the new PPL Center. That design did not last long. Its quite possible that their fans did not like the odd positioning of the logo or perhaps it violated an AHL rule (though the AHL seems to be pretty lax on the ice painting rules).  At any rate, they have gone with a more traditional layout now. Let us know in the comments how you feel about the change.

NHL 15 Center Ice Accuracy

Its that time again. Today we take a look at the center ice designs in NHL 15 and see how close they are to the real thing and where there could be improvement. As always, I welcome EA Sports to email me if they need any help with some graphics or check out our NHL section for the latest NHL center ice designs!

A couple things to remember about this... EA is produced before most teams paint their ice for the upcoming season so I have used reference shots from the previous season because that is what they are attempting to work off of. Also keep in mind that anniversary logos do not appear in the EA NHL games as they would be old news by the time the game came out.

Finally, I should mention that I do not go into detail on the white trim around the red lines. They are the same for every rink in the game this year. I would normally nitpick about something like that but in previous years many ices didn't have ANY white trim and the logos simply touched the red line. I don't know of hardly any teams that have done that in the last decade so even a standard trim looks better than none at all.

Lets get started!

Anaheim: The top half of the red line should face the opposite direction. Otherwise looks good.

Arizona: Obviously the arena name officially took place after NHL 15 development had been completed so there was no chance of the new arena name being in the game. Glad they were able to leave the old name in so the rink looks realistic at least.

Boston: Perfect, and as a bonus you can find this year's solid red line in the game as well if you play in Boston on NHL Moments Live.

Buffalo: I think the logo size might need adjusting, or perhaps ours does. Oh well, looks very good either way.

Calgary: They actually got the authentic arena text which I have been unable to match so far. Ill work on that! Perfect recreation EA!

Carolina: One of two arenas not licensed in the game. PNC Arena assured us on Twitter that they are in talks with PNC regarding the future of their likeness being included in the EA NHL Series. Now if EA could just stop being lazy with their red line... How hard would that red line be to recreate?

Chicago: And here is the other unlicensed arena this year. Glad to see they got rid of the Chicago Stadium text after realizing that NHL is not played in stadiums, unless of course they are outdoor games. Red line could use some work as they seem to have this generic boxed red line on many ices this year.

Colorado: Fix that "CENTER" font and you have a perfect recreation.

Columbus: They never did have much luck recreating the arena text. At least now it has changed in real life so next year they can have a fresh start at the new text layout. The red line stars are very big but ast least this year they aren't all disfigured.

Dallas: Bold that font and straighten the stars and you've got it!

Detroit: The generic boxed red line is is use again but this time it sort of works. That pattern is not far off from the real thing. They never get the "Detroit Red Wings" font quite right and perhaps shrink the arena text a bit.

Edmonton: The font looks to be outdated still but this ice wont be around much longer anyway, Besides that it looks great in game!

Florida: We compare these designs to the previous season because that is all EA has to work with at the time they make these games. Anniversary logos are never used in game as they would date the game almost immediately. They pretty much nailed this ice as best as they could have guessed. We even assumed that the Panthers would go back to their diamond red line this season with the return of their primary logo but they did not. Personally I like the solid red line better and perhaps EA could update that easily in a patch, who knows.

Los Angeles: Always good to perfect the championship team's center ice in the game!

Minnesota: The generic red line is back but hey, its pretty close.

Montreal: Several Habs fans had high hopes that EA would finally update the arena text font, but not this year. Shoot us a message EA, we can help you out on this!  The red line is not quite right, though I have to say it looks better in game than on the real ice.

Nashville: Nicely done!

New Jersey:  EA must not want to spend time on the spacing of boxes on red lines so they go with the generic once again. Works pretty well here though.

New York Islanders: Nassau Coliseum is FINALLY licensed! I guess in all that excitement, EA forgot to recreate their red line... you know, the ONLY red line design they have EVER used. Also the logo appears to be an older version and the outline looks pretty bad.

New York Rangers: MSG makes its return to the ice and isn't it a great site. The generic red line makes another appearance though. They took alot of pride in their Madison Square Garden arena recreation so I sure wish they would have finished it off with that uniquely spaced red line design.

Ottawa Senators: The new arena name looks perfect this year! The red line design is solid logos rather than detailed logos and that surprising stands out a lot. Maybe next year!

Philadelphia Flyers:  Looks pretty good. I think i would make the arena text a bit more bold, but certainly not a big issue.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Perfect! What more can I say?

San Jose Sharks: So great to see the Sharks home ice licensed and back in the NHL series. Pefect arena text and all that really needs work is the generic red line. In recent years the red line has looked worse in the game though so I can live with this.

Saint Louis: Perhaps I am more picky on the Blues ice as they are my favorite team, but there are a couple issues that they have missed for a few years now.  The Blues logo seems to dark in game (yes its hard to tell this year with the new ice textures in the game). the thing that stands out the most to me is the arena text. The font is dead on but the size is a bit too large and too far from the center circle. Also the words should be in purple and gray.

Tampa Bay: Another case where the arena name changed too late in the development process, but hey, it could be worse. We could have ended up with no arena name at all like in past years for some teams.

Toronto: A little tweaking could be done to the font, but honestly, its not broken so I wouldn't worry about fixing it.

Vancouver: Hmmm, this is EA Canada's hometown rink which they have stated they have visited, so why can't they get their own red line accurate. This year it got the old generic box treatment. Otherwise it looks good.

Washington: The arena text could be more bold but other than that, looks good.

Winnipeg: Looks great!