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NHL Rink History Part 1

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. We have upgraded our rink history to now date all the way back to the 1917-1918 season. 

Throughout the history of the NHL, there have been many variances from rink to rink such as Edmonton's center ice facing the players benches or the shorter rinks like the one in the Chicago Stadium. There were quite a few of these abnormalities, but for the sake of the overall history of the NHL, the following graphics will be based upon the typical 200 by 80 foot rink. 

While we have tried to account for every known change to the rink and we worked through many corrections that had been submitted the first time around, there are so many subtle changes that we could have missed something along the way. Please email us at admin@frozenfaceoff.net if you see an error. 

Because of the size of the images, we will split this up into two parts for a better loading experience. To skip directly to Part 2 (1950's to present), click here.

Part 1 - Vintage Rinks

1917-18 Season
The center ice face-off dot and goal post lines were the only marking on the blank sheet of ice.

1918-19 through 1925-26 Seasons
Blue lines were added to the ice, 80 feet from the end boards.

1926-27 through 1928-29 Seasons
The blue lines were moved 10 feet closer to each of the end boards, expanding the neutral zone to 60 feet.

1929-30 through 1930-31 Seasons
Additional face-off dots are added to the ice surface, 10 feet in front of each goal. Every time a goaltender failed to clear the puck after making a save, a face-off would be held at the dot in front of his net. No player other than the goalie was permitted to stand between the face-off spot and the net.

1931-32 through 1932-33 Seasons
Three additional face-off dots are added in the neutral zone along each blue line.


1933-34 Season
L-Shaped boundaries placed in front of each net defining a goaltenders safe area. The boundary was 8 feet by 5 feet.

1934-35 through 1936-37 Seasons
Two 20 foot diameter "penalty shot" circles were added in front of each goal, centered at 38 feet from the goal lines. If a player was tripped preventing him from shooting while on what we now call a "breakaway", a player takes a penalty shot which must be taken from inside this circle. A full goal crease was also painted on the ice at this time.

1937-38 Season
Two face-off dots are added in each defensive zone. The dots in front of each of the goals are removed. The goal line was also introduced and the "icing" rule was created.

1938-39 Season
The width of each of the blue lines were increased to 12 inches wide.

1939-40 through 1940-41 Seasons
The goal crease is modified to 7 feet by 3 feet.

1941-42 through 1942-43 Seasons
Four circles are created replacing the two defensive zone circles. Penalty shot lines are created 28 feet in front of each goal. The center circle was also added to the ice.

1943-44 through 1944-45 Seasons
The center red line was created.

1945-46 through 1946-47 Seasons
The penalty shot line has been removed.

1947-48 through 1948-49 Seasons
The area inside the goal nets is painted white to make it easier for referees and goal judges to determine if a goal has been scored.



Part 2: Paint It White
Click here to visit the 1950's to the present day rink.


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