An ice show is an entertainment consisting of figure skating, ice dancing, acrobatic stunts, and buffoonery performed by ice skaters.
However even during most non-skating events, the ice always stays on the rink. The conversion process is fairly complex. "For basketball games, we make an ice deck using 4-by-8 sheets of plywood to cover the ice. Then we put the basketball floor over that. For non-hockey ice show, we also take down the glass surrounding the rink. It takes six to eight hours to change from the ice rink to the basketball court." The ice is only broken up and hauled out "for the circus, because they make points in the floor to hold the trapeze and other things, or for a truck pull."
There are some particularities in requires for special ice show. An official NHL rink measures 200 feet (61 m) in length and 85 feet (26 m) in width, with corners rounded to a 28-foot (8.5-meter) radius. A few years ago, the NHL increased the end zone width from 11 feet to 13 feet (from 3.4 to 4 m), and decreased the zone between the center blue lines to 54 feet (16.5 m).
Many preparations are necessary to make great ice show. Making an ice rink isn't as simple as flooding the floor with gallons of water. The crew must apply the water carefully and slowly, in order to insure ideal thickness. An ice surface that is too thick requires more energy to keep frozen and is prone to getting soft on the top. A surface that is too thin is also dangerous because skaters risk cutting straight through the ice.
Figure skaters and hockey skaters have different ideas of what good ice and bad ice are. Figure skaters prefer an ice temperature of 26 to 28 F. Ice in that temperature range is softer, so it grips the skate edges better. It is also less likely to shatter under the impact of jumps. Hockey players, though, prefer colder, harder ice. With many skaters on the ice simultaneously, it's easy for the ice surface to get chewed up at the temperatures preferred by figure skaters. For hockey games, the top of the ice is usually kept at 24 to 26 F. Ice that's too warm might cause players to lose their edge during a crucial play, but ice that's too cold may chip too readily.
Ice machine is essential for any ice rink. Before ice-resurfacing machines, ice rinks were resurfaced manually, using scrapers, towels, a water hose and squeegees. Resurfacing a regulation-size rink was time-consuming and labor-intensive. In the 1940s, Frank Zamboni began to experiment with building machines that would shave, scrape, wash and squeegee the ice surface all at once before putting down a fresh layer of water.
Early ice-resurfacing machines cost about $5,000 and were built by hand on war-surplus jeeps. Today, ice- The NHL requires that two machines resurface the ice between periods. The ice is resurfaced before the game, after warm-ups, between periods, during playoffs, and when the game is over. With two resurfacing machines, it takes three minutes to complete the floor, each making four full passes up the ice. With one, it takes between six and seven minutes with eight full passes up the length of the ice.