If you’re a new or more casual hockey fan, you might assume that hockey rinks are the same dimensions around the world. You might also be surprised to know that you’d be wrong, as hockey rinks in North America slightly differ from their European counterparts.
The general look of all professional hockey rinks are similar, but size differences are even present from one European league to the next. To keep it simple, let’s take a look at the standard NHL rink dimensions and compare them to an Olympic hockey rink.
NHL Rink Dimensions
Across North America, hockey rinks are standardized to the NHL’s rink dimensions. At 200 feet by 85 feet, a hockey rink is longer and wider than a basketball court, but its size pales in comparison to other team sports fields in football, baseball, and soccer.
In a hockey game, most refer to the rink’s three main areas as the offensive, defensive, and neutral zones. The offensive and defensive zones are at each end of the ice, while the neutral zone is in the middle. Let’s discuss the precise measurements of each area.
Offensive and Defensive Zones
As you might have guessed, the offensive and defensive zones are identical. Measuring from the blueline to the boards behind the goal line, both are 75 feet by 85 feet. There are also 11 feet behind the goal, leaving 64 feet between the blue line and goal line.
Speaking of the goal, players have six feet of width to get the puck past the goaltender. As for the goal crease, it’s eight feet wide to give the goaltender their own space from other players. Lastly, each zone’s pair of faceoff circles boasts a diameter of 30 feet.
Considering the offensive and defensive zones add up to 150 feet in length, some quick addition gives the neutral zone a 50 feet by 85 feet dimension. It leaves 25 feet between centre ice and each blue line, with the faceoff circle featuring a diameter of 30 feet.
There are four other faceoff dots in the neutral zone, located 20.5 feet from the boards and 44 feet from each other. The referee’s crease has a radius of 10 feet and provides a space for them to communicate with the scorekeeper, prohibiting any player entry.
Olympic Hockey Rink Dimensions
Although hockey rink dimensions have slight variations from one European league to the next, Olympic hockey competitions have a standardized rink size. At 200 feet by 100 feet, hockey rinks at the Olympic Games are 15 feet wider compared to NHL rinks.
Olympic hockey rinks also consist of offensive, defensive, and neutral zones to divide the ice, but the measurements of all three differ from NHL rinks. Let’s take a look at the dimensions of a standard Olympic hockey rink and determine the key differences.
Offensive and Defensive Zones
Just like NHL rinks, the offensive and defensives zones are identical in Olympic hockey competitions. Between the blue line and the boards behind the goal line, there are 71 feet. It includes 13 feet behind the goal and 58 feet between the blue line and goal line.
The goal is also six feet wide in Olympic hockey, but an 11-foot goal crease gives the goaltender a bit more space. Each faceoff circle location is in the same spot, including a 30-foot diameter, while a trapezoid behind the goal line is non-existent in the Olympics.
With the offensive and defensive zones combining for 142 feet, this leaves the remaining 58 feet of length for the neutral zone. It results in 29 feet between centre ice and each blue line, while the centre faceoff circle’s diameter measures in at 30 feet.
An Olympic hockey rink’s neutral zone also contains four other faceoff dots, which are 44 feet from each other and 28 feet from the boards. As for the referee’s crease, it’s identical in Olympic hockey compared to NHL rinks, coming in at a 10-foot radius.
Final thoughts on Hockey Rink Dimensions
Its overall look and structure are the same around the world, but the NHL’s rink dimensions aren’t quite identical compared to Olympic hockey rinks. These differences have led to debate regarding which rink size is better sport’s entertainment value.
We hope you’ve learned something about a hockey rink’s dimensions, particularly the differences between North America and Europe. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! Let us know your preferred rink between the NHL and Olympics!