Are Ice Hockey Arenas Cold? (and what you should wear) – Hockey Answered

    When we go to watch an ice hockey game, we know that the building temperature will need to be a little lower to prevent the ice from melting, but how low will it be? how should i dress? really, how cold will the sand be?

    If you’re going to a professional hockey game, the temperature in the arena will be between 60f (15c) and 65f (18c). you’ll be comfortable wearing a light jacket or hockey jersey. while recreational tracks are a bit cooler with temperatures typically 55°F (12°C) or lower requiring heavier clothing options.

    professional hockey arena temperatures

    for professional hockey arenas, the nhl recommended air temperature for all new venues is: 60f (15c) at start and maintain at 65f (18c).

    Of course, the ice itself is colder because water freezes at 32°F (0°C). the temperature of the ice surface is between 19 and 21 degrees at the beginning of the game. As more people attend the game, the temperature in the building will increase, causing the temperature of the ice and inside the building to increase as well. The NHL doesn’t want the ice to rise above 24 degrees late in the game.

    To counteract this, the ice technicians in the building will use certain pipes and an HVAC system to try to control the temperature by cooling the building.

    This will of course have an effect on the people in the stands! if you’re in a more northerly climate, say edmonton in january, the effect shouldn’t be as great because it will be very cold outside and the temperature inside will be easier to manage. If you’re in a hot climate like Arizona in June (although they never made it to the Stanley Cup final), then the ice techs will really need to turn up the air conditioning (making it colder) to keep the ice from getting in. melting.

    I use those two examples because this is exactly what happened to my brother-in-law. He lives in Edmonton and is used to going to games at the Rogers Arena, where the temperature inside is 60 to 65F. when he was at phoenix, he went to an arizona coyotes game with his wife without thinking about what to wear, and went in her t-shirt and shorts. what he found was that the coyotes had to heat up the air conditioner to keep it cool enough for the ice not to melt. To avoid freezing the entire game, he had to buy a blanket from the souvenir shop!

    so what should you wear to a professional hockey game?

    If you bring a light jacket or hockey sweater (then you’ll look like a big fan) to wear over your regular clothes, you’ll be more than comfortable throughout the game. In a professional hockey arena, you don’t need to wear gloves, a heavy coat, or a ski cap/cap.

    I think the best advice is to think about the temperature of the theater. I’ve seen a lot of movies in the summer where I’ve walked in with nothing but shorts and a t-shirt. It took me a while to learn from my mistakes, but now I will always bring a hoodie or sweater to the theater with me. do the same when you go to watch an ice hockey game and you’ll be fine.

    Recreational hockey arena temperatures and what to wear

    If you’re seeing your son or daughter, niece, nephew or neighbor for the first time on a recreational ice hockey field, it’s a completely different story than on a professional ice hockey field!

    Temperatures in recreational hockey arenas are typically 55f (12c) and below, much cooler than a professional venue.

    Whenever I go to watch one of my nephews play, I will definitely bring a warm jacket, my gloves and my ski cap/hat >. strong>. my sister-in-law (who goes to almost every game) also brings a blanket, either to sit on a cold, hard bench, or to keep on her lap. The arenas are cold, and when you have to sit for 1-2 hours to watch a game in temperatures below 50°F, your body temperature can drop quickly.

    Some recreational hockey arenas have enclosed seating areas separate from the ice that have a more normal interior temperature. however, I feel like this separates you from the action that’s happening on the ice and the experience isn’t that great.

    I think the best solution is the hockey fields that have installed ceiling heaters in the stands. these ceiling heaters will generally warm viewers that extra 5 to 10 degrees needed which makes the temperature (and therefore your viewing experience) that much more comfortable.

    what about the players, are they cold on the court?

    nhl players are pretty hot when they play in an nhl game. I got the chance to play in an nhl stadium for a friend’s 40th birthday party and I couldn’t believe how hot it was! I usually wear a t-shirt under my gear, but I had to take it off because I couldn’t stand the extra heat.

    for recreational arenas, the hockey gear itself is usually more than enough to keep the player warm once they start skating. hockey is a high intensity sport, which generates a lot of heat and sweat on the part of the player. I think it’s nice to wear a jersey if necessary under hockey gear, but you don’t need more than that.

    what happens to the quality of the ice as the game progresses?

    Ice quality is a top concern for the NHL and local ice technicians. it’s quite common for ice not to be as good at a professional level as it is in a recreational arena due to the extra heat in the building. With newer technologies, the NHL is trying to stop this problem. The next time you’re watching hockey, note how much the puck bounces and if players have difficulty completing passes to each other. if those things are happening, they are the best indication that at that point in the game the ice has deteriorated to a level of poor quality.

    do the stadiums have hot drinks to buy?

    Pro stadiums have many different food and drink options that you can purchase, and most recreational areas have a small concession that sells coffee, hot chocolate, and other goodies, usually at more affordable prices than the big leagues!

    related: new to hockey? Check out our post Hockey 101: A Simple Guide to Help You Watch Hockey. what do all those lines on the ice mean anyway?


    If you’re attending your first hockey game, whether it’s in a professional or recreational arena, congratulations! It’s a great sport to watch and you’ll be amazed at the speed and skill of the players.

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