What's the difference between real ice and synthetic ice?
Real ice as you may know is where hockey was born. Without it there is no ice hockey. The puck slides smooth, steel creates friction giving your feet traction to move, turn, glide and stop. It is pretty amazing what you can do on ice. There is no direct replacement to ice, there really isn't a way to replicate that feel other than synthetic ice. Training on ice, especially in the City of Vancouver can be expensive because we just don't have the climate to make outdoor rinks in our backyards like other Canadian cities, so the alternative to more training on ice is synthetic ice.
Synthetic ice is made of a polymer, its durable and strong. Its a material that allows the user to skate, stop, turn, and stickhandle just like they would on real ice but with a little more resistance. They say its about 80 to 90% equivalent to real ice. The resistance acts as a training benefit requiring you to use more strength to shoot the puck and more strength and energy to skate and push off. The other real benefits to synthetic ice training is the lower cost that's involved, the lower cost means for the same money you get for one ice time you might get three or 4 sessions on synthetic ice, giving you more time with a puck, more time shooting and a becoming a better hockey player.