Are Ice Hockey Arenas Cold? And What You Should Wear

Field hockey can be played in an open-air stadium, but a closed stadium with a specific temperature is required for ice hockey. The temperature inside the hockey arenas is kept cold enough so that the ice won’t melt, and players have no problem moving around the rink. 

People going to watch a hockey match for the first time in the US often wonder how cold is it in the hockey arenas and what they should wear to the game to keep themselves warm. 

Ice Hockey Arenas Cold
Ice Hockey Arenas Cold

If you are also baffled by this confusion, check out the following context. In this article, you will find a comprehensive guide answering all your questions related to how cold is it in the hockey arenas and how players manage to play at such a low temperature. 

Professional Hockey Arena Temperatures

Ice hockey is either played in an open stadium or arranged in a closed hockey stadium during the winter season. A closed arena is preferred for professional matches, as the temperature can be manually controlled there. 

In a typical professional hockey arena, the ambient temperature can be around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius). At the same time, the temperature of the ice rink is strictly kept at 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-4.4 degrees Celsius). 

Hockey Arena Temperatures
Hockey Arena Temperatures

Initially, the arena is cooled down to 19 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit so that when people come into the arena and the temperature of the arena increases, it does not go beyond the ideal temperature of the rink, and it does not get melt.

Once the match starts, then the technicians of the arena maintain its temperature at a narrow range of about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius). If there are fewer people in the stadium, it is easier to maintain the temperature. 

But if the arena is crowded, which usually happens in NHL sessions, the technician’s job becomes strenuous and arduous as they have to perform extensive cooling of the arena. 

How Do Technicians Lower The Temperature Of The Arena? 

Understanding how technicians lower the arena’s temperature will help you analyze how cold is it in the hockey arenas. The ice hockey areas are fitted with certain pipes and an HVAC system. Technicians use this system to lower the temperature of the arena. Within the lines, cold air and refrigerant are present that lowering the temperature of the rink and the stands.

Initially, the refrigerant and cold air pressure are extremely high within the pipes. When an ice hockey arena opens, no one is allowed to go to the arena or the stands for the first few hours. After that, the arena is cooled to the ideal temperature, and the pressure of the refrigerant is decreased within the pipes.  

The cooling process of the arena also depends upon the weather. If it is winter and the temperature is cold enough outside, cooling the arena won’t be a problem. But if the arena is located in a warm city like Arizona, technicians will need to increase the air conditioning process, and the cooling process can take time. 

During winters, you may not feel a drastic variation between the outside and inside temperature of the arena. But in summers, the difference in temperature within and outside the arena can be pretty evident. In some parts of the US, like Arizona, Coyotes have to blast off their air conditioning systems during the summers to prevent the ice rink from melting. 

What Should You Wear To A Professional Hockey Game? 

Suppose you will watch a professional hockey match for the first time. In that case, you should reconsider your wardrobe as the temperature inside the arena can immensely vary from the outside weather. 

During the winter season, arenas have almost the same temperature as the outside. Thus, you won’t need to dress specifically for the game in such situations. You can wear a hood, a sweater, or anything wearable in the winter. 

However, NHL sessions and other professional hockey tournaments open during the spring or summer season. Many people make the ironic mistake of wearing summer clothes, i.e., shorts and shirts, to the hockey arena. Later, they regret it as it is icy inside the stadium. 

Even if it is hot outside, it is suggested that you should wear warm clothes to the hockey arena, as the temperature inside the stadium will be around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius). Moreover, in warm weather, the technicians of the arena use blast air conditioning systems; thus, it is advised to wear winter season clothes for the hockey game

While going to watch a hockey game, you should never forget that your dress should be arena-appropriate and not weather-appropriate. However, it does not mean that you should over-prepare for the game. 

Professional arenas are usually packed with a large audience, and they have targeted cooling systems that primarily focus on keeping the ice rink stable and not overcooling the arena. 

Thus, you don’t need to wear oversized hoodies, gloves, and caps for the arena. Instead, a cozy jacket or a sweater will be sufficient to keep you warm and comfortable during the game. 

Recreational Hockey Arena Temperatures And What To Wear?

Contrary to what some people think, there exists a massive difference between a recreational arena and a professional hockey stadium. Professional Hockey arenas have intelligent cooling systems that can maintain the integrity of the ice without extensively cooling the entire arena.

Recreational Hockey Arena
Recreational Hockey Arena

But since the recreational arena isn’t that big and is run on a smaller budget, its air conditioning and HVAC systems aren’t that smart. Unlike the professional arenas, their air conditioning pipes do not target the rink only. 

Instead, they are placed all over the arena. As a result, not only the temperature of the rink gets low, but the temperature of the stands is also lower than in professional stadiums. 

The temperature of a recreational arena can be as low as 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much lower than that of a professional arena. Therefore, you will need to wear warm clothes there. 

Hockey games can last anywhere between one to two hours, and in some situations, the game can even get prolonged. Within such an extended period, your body temperature can drop. 

That is why it is advised to wear gloves and caps along with jackets and sweaters to a recreational hockey arena. And if you are taking kids along with you, then it is suggested that you should also take a mini blanket to the arena to keep them warm enough. 
What Happens to the Ice on the Rink as the Game goes on?
As the heat increases in the arena due to the accumulation of the crowd, the quality of the ice rink can get affected. In such cases, the players find it hard to pass the puck to each other. 

Thus, NHL has introduced innovative air conditioning that primarily targets cooling the rink and keeping its temperature stable to avoid this problem. But when the temperature is too warm inside the arena, even these systems can fail to operate aptly. 

What Happens To The Players On The Rink?

Since the rink’s temperature is below zero degrees Celsius, the suits of the hockey players are made with multiple layers of comfortable material to keep them warm during the game. 

The players wear a ‘Hockey Gear’ suit made with Kelvar (aramid), carbon, and glass. The combination fabric is thick enough to provide enough insulation to the players against the ice rink’s cold temperature. 

Besides, hockey is a strenuous game. Players have to move at a high pace, and thus, they often feel hot with such a thick suit. Therefore, hockey players only wear a T-shirt inside instead of multiple layers of clothing beneath the hockey gear. 

The Bottom Line On Are Ice Hockey Arenas Cold? And What You Should Wear

Now that you know how cold is it in hockey arenas, you can wear arena-appropriate clothes to the stadium and enjoy the game thoroughly. Unlike what some people perceive, it isn’t that cold in the stadium. 

With an apt jacket or sweater, you can easily survive in the arena. Moreover, in these stadiums, food and hot drinks are also served, which will also help to keep your metabolic rate stable during the game. 

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