How big is a hockey rink?

An NHL rink is now a standard size, but that hasn’t always been the case. Also, ice rinks in different leagues and countries are still different sizes, which can lead to some needed adjustments when players compete in international competitions and interleague exhibition matchups.

The National Hockey League had a few rinks that were outside of the standard in some of the oldest arenas, like the Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium. Until those arenas were replaced in the mid-1990s, an NHL rink was often determined by the size of the building where a team played. Not only were there shorter and longer as well as narrower and wider ice rinks, but the ice surface of hockey rinks in the NHL have also changed in how they look quite a bit over the decades.

The history and evolution of the NHL hockey rink have gone through 37 different changes to bring us to the ice surface that you see today. To get an idea, imagine a pond that is somehow perfectly oval devoid of any marking, no blue lines, only a single face-off dot at center ice.


What are the dimensions of a hockey rink?

The dimensions of a National Hockey League rink are now standardized at 85 feet wide by 200 feet long. There are many markings on the ice, which were last updated in the 2014-2015 season. These markings include two blue lines, which were the first additions to the blank ice surface. These created an offensive zone, defensive zone, and neutral zone for the teams and officiating.

NHL Rink Dimensions

Prior to the mid-1990s, the NHL had rinks that were 83 feet by 191 feet (Boston Garden), 85 feet by 185 feet (Chicago), and 85 feet by 196 feet (Buffalo). These were in addition to the standard that had been created of 85 feet by 200 feet. These alternate-size ice surfaces were allowed with the knowledge that they would be brought up to the standard if and when those arenas were replaced or refurbished. With the upgrades to arenas in these cities, there are no longer home-ice advantages for NHL teams, at least not based on the size of the hockey rink.

International Hockey Rink Dimension

World Championship level competition governed by the International Ice Hockey Federation is 30 meters wide by 60 meters long, or approximately 98.5 feet by 197 feet. Comparatively NHL rinks are about the same length but international hockey rinks are notably wider. The greater width of international rinks gives players more space to operate, perform technical maneuvers, and avoid contact. The NHL is considered a more physical league than most if not all leagues in Europe.

empty ice hockey rink

More Hockey Rink FAQs

From goal line to goal line here are a few quick facts about the regulation size of an ice hockey rink along with some other important aspects of the playing area.

How long is a hockey rink?

An NHL rink is 200 feet long. An international hockey rink is about 197 feet long.

How wide is a hockey rink?

An NHL rink is 85 feet wide. An international hockey rink is about 98.5 feet wide.

Are college and high school hockey rinks the same size as the NHL?

Hockey rinks in the United States are governed by rule 102 of USA Hockey, also known as Dimensions of Rink, and are stated as follows:
“The recommended dimensions of the “RINK” shall be one hundred eighty-five (185’) to two hundred feet (200’) long, and eighty-five (85’) to one hundred feet (100’) wide. The corners shall be uniformly rounded in the arc of a circle. For regional playoffs and national championships, the ice surface dimensions shall be no less than one hundred ice surface dimensions shall be no less than one hundred eighty-five feet (185’) long by eighty-five feet (85’) wide.”

What this means is that college and high school rinks can be the same size as NHL rinks, but can and do vary.

How tall are hockey boards?

Ice hockey boards are typically 42 inches high from the ice surface.

How tall is hockey rink glass?

The plexiglass seen around ice rinks is eight feet high.

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